CRICKET: Coach Jason Gillespie commits his future to Yorkshire CCC

Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie
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Jason Gillespie insists he is fully committed to Yorkshire as he prepares to lead the county into their Championship title defence.

The Australian attracted some admiring glances from the international scene as he guided the White Rose to their first championship in 13 years last season and was briefly linked with the Australia post before that when Darren Lehman was appointed.

But the former paceman’s only focus is on Headingley as the team get ready to depart for Abu Dhabi to face the MCC later this month.

“I’m very comfortable at Yorkshire, we’ve got a great program here,” he said.

“The county season is about to kick off, we leave for Abu Dhabi on Thursday so it’s very exciting.

“My focus is 100 per cent here.”

Yorkshire’s recent success has led to international recognition with Joe Root and Gary Ballance currently at the World Cup and Liam Plunkett, Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth and Jack Brooks all on the England radar.

But despite the risk of losing his players for a large chunk of the summer, Gillespie sees the development as a positive after seeing Lees establish himself in Root’s absence last year.

“Call-ups to the England side are nothing new to any county,” he said.

“I see it as a positive: one, we get our lads representing their country which is fantastic but it also gives opportunities for other Yorkshire players to show what they can do at first class level, so we’re really excited about that.

“We have a lot of trust and belief in getting players through from under-age, through the academy and second XI and they’ll be ready to go.”

Yorkshire have made some exciting overseas additions over the winter with veteran Younus Khan and one-day specialist Glenn Maxwell joining Aaron Finch and Kane Williamson among the ranks at Headingley.

That has seen the county installed as favourites to defend their title in 2015 but Gillespie is aiming for limited overs improvements in the new campaign, something fellow Australians Finch and Maxwell will surely help with.

“There is always expectations, we’re a big county and we’re going to embrace that and really enjoy that,” he said.

“Yes, other teams will be looking at what we’ve done and seeing if they can find ways to get on top of us.

“Our challenge this winter is how can we improve on last year?

“We certainly did well in the County Championship, we still feel there are areas we can work on to be better in four-day cricket.

“We under-achieved last year in one-day and T20 cricket so it’s something that we’ve really worked hard to address and we’ve been putting a lot of stuff into practice over the winter.

“Hopefully we can kick-start that in Abu Dhabi. We’ve got some Twenty20 practice games so we’re really excited about that.

“For the season, we’re just excited. We just want to get out there, play some cricket and put on a show for the crowds.”