YORKSHIRE chief Martyn Moxon believes the announcement that first-team coach Jason Gillespie is to leave the club at the end of the season will only inspire the players to send him on his way with a hat-trick of titles.
Yorkshire confirmed yesterday that Gillespie is going at the end of the summer, citing family reasons after his wife and children recently returned to Australia.
Gillespie will join them at home in Adelaide in October after five seasons in charge of Yorkshire, whom he has led to back-to-back County Championships.
Director of cricket Moxon believes the timing of the announcement – with second-placed Yorkshire five points behind leaders Middlesex with four games left – will only motivate the side to give Gillespie a fairytale send-off.
“I don’t see it (the timing) being a problem,” said Moxon.
“If anything, I think it’s going to inspire everybody to finish the season strongly.
“It’s not going to negatively affect the dressing room, and it’s just a little bit more inspiration, if we ever needed it, to try and get a treble of County Championships.
“The reaction among the players when we told them was, ‘let’s finish on a high and send Dizzy out on a high’. That’s the message.”
The players were told in the aftermath of Yorkshire’s Royal London Cup semi-final defeat to Surrey on Sunday.
Moxon said the announcement was also designed to head off ongoing speculation surrounding Gillespie’s future, with the fact that he would probably leave during the close season having been an open secret in-and-around Headingley due to his family situation.
Dizzy has headed it up and put his stamp on the team.Martyn Moxon talking about the contribution of departing coach Jason Gillespie.
“Clearly, there’s been a lot of speculation,” said Moxon.
“Dizzy’s been asked quite a bit about the future, hence why we’ve made the announcement now to squash all the speculation, because that does create doubt in the dressing room when people hear rumours.
“We took a balanced view on it and felt it was probably best to end all the speculation now, and get it out there so everybody knows exactly what’s happening.
“Ideally, it would have been nice to have done it after winning the semi-final rather than losing one, so it had nothing to do with the result of that match.”
Moxon admitted he had known for some time that Yorkshire would have to start searching for a new head coach.
He has enjoyed a strong working relationship with Gillespie, overseeing all cricketing affairs while Gillespie has focused on the day-to-day running of the first XI.
“We’ve known for some time within the management group, and it’s no surprise to us that are close to him,” said Moxon. “With Anna and the children going back after the school term, and the fact that the family over there were missing the grandkids, etcetera, it’s not a surprise that it was going to be difficult for Diz to be here for several months of the year while his family were in Australia.
“From my point of view, I can only thank him for what he’s done and say that it’s been a pleasure to work with him. We’ve worked really well and closely together, and we get on as friends as well, so it’s been something really special these last five years.”
What Gillespie has done is best highlighted by Yorkshire’s Championship record in the past five seasons.
Going into tomorrow’s game against Hampshire at Southampton, Yorkshire have lost just five of 76 Championship fixtures under his leadership, becoming the standout force in four-day cricket.
“Dizzy has headed up the first team for five years and done a fantastic job,” said Moxon.
“He’s created an environment whereby some good players can go out and play and express themselves.
“All of the support staff have played their part within the group, and it’s been a real team effort, but Dizzy has headed it up and he’s put his stamp on the team.
“Particularly in four-day cricket, it’s a remarkable record, and we’re starting to improve in one-day cricket as well, so he’s done a great job for Yorkshire overall.”
Gillespie, 41, was unavailable for comment yesterday pending a press conference at Headingley this morning when he will clarify his reasons for going.
Moxon will begin the search for his successor after ruling himself out of the running to combine both roles.
“I’ve moved on from that now,” he said. “I think it’s impossible to combine the overseeing and the day-to-day running of the first team because there’s too much involved.
“I’m keen to stay where I am doing what I’m doing, and we’ll appoint somebody in time to carry on the work and oversee the next few years.
“I’ve got a couple of things I want to explore (possible successors to Gillespie), but, if nothing comes of those, then it will be the end of the season before we look at it more closely.”
Among potential candidates could be England assistant coach Paul Farbrace and the Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson, both of whom have recently coached the Yorkshire second team.
But whoever takes over will have some mighty shoes to fill.
Comment: Page 19.