YORKSHIRE boss Martyn Moxon last night insisted he has not resigned himself to losing first-team coach Jason Gillespie to England, despite the former Australia fast bowler being the overwhelming favourite to replace sacked coach Peter Moores.
Moxon says he has not given up hope of Gillespie staying at Headingley, where the former believes there is “unfinished business” as the club strive to build continued success.
However, Moxon confirmed that Yorkshire have a plan in place should Gillespie leave after new England boss Andrew Strauss confirmed that he is “one of the candidates” for the head coach’s job.
That could potentially see director of cricket Moxon take over the first team again temporarily, with his current role being more of an overseeing one.
England have not yet made an official approach to speak to Gillespie, but talks are expected to take place in the next few days, with Yorkshire not having a first-team game between tomorrow and the following Friday.
Yorkshire yesterday threw a protective blanket around Gillespie as they shielded him from questions relating to the England post after their County Championship win over Hampshire at Headingley.
Gillespie is routinely helpful to the media – he recognises the importance of promoting the game – but it was Moxon who was wheeled out to face the press yesterday, and he was bullish about the prospects of Gillespie staying.
Asked if he thought his departure inevitable, Moxon said: “No, I don’t. We haven’t had an approach from the ECB yet.
“If we do have an approach, and if Jason speaks to Andrew Strauss, then we’ll wait and see.
“We’ll wait and see if it’s the right job for Jason or not, or whether England want him, because there’s no guarantee that they will appoint him anyway.
“Andrew Strauss has said there’s four or five other people they want to speak to, so it’s not nailed-on that he is the man they will ultimately pick
“There’s still a lot of water to pass under the bridge, I think.
“From a purely selfish point of view, I want Jason to stay with us and continue the work he’s doing.
“We have unfinished business – we want sustained success at Yorkshire, and he’s been a big part in the success we’ve had so far.”
Yorkshire have lost only three of 52 Championship games under Gillespie, underlying his talent and value to the club.
The win over Hampshire was impressive not least considering the swirl of speculation surrounding the coach, something that could have distracted the players.
“The team have done really well,” said Moxon. “They’re actually taking the mickey out of Jason and finding it quite fun.
“Credit to the players because it could be distracting, but they’ve managed to put that to one side and focus on the job.
“It’s been pretty distracting for me, because I’m having to go through the what-ifs, which is not ideal. Because of the speculation, we’ve obviously had discussions and have got a plan just in case, but I hope that plan doesn’t have to come into operation.”
Gillespie, 40, has made no secret of his desire to coach at international level and is the outstanding candidate from county cricket.
Whether that ambition survives the shambles that has engulfed English cricket in recent days, however, remains to be seen, with the Kevin Pietersen issue a PR nightmare.
Having been told by incoming England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves that the door to an England recall was not closed if he scored enough runs at county level, director of cricket Strauss then slammed it firmly shut on the very day that Pietersen hit a career-best triple century for Surrey.
Strauss has ruled out a return for Pietersen this summer, citing issues of “trust” while at the same time asking him to advise on England’s one-day strategy in an absurd contradiction, so it is obvious that Gillespie would not have free rein to pick the side.
Shane Warne claimed yesterday that Gillespie would want to pick Pietersen, while another of Gillespie’s former Australia team-mates, Matthew Hayden, warned that anyone taking the England job would be “crazy”.
Moxon said he could not speak for Gillespie as to what Gillespie thought of the Pietersen issue, but Yorkshire’s director of cricket spoke with typical candour as he gave his own thoughts.
“It’s a bit messy,” said Moxon. “I don’t know the ins-and-outs of Pietersen’s time with England, or what has been said to him, etc, etc, so I’m only hearing and seeing what everyone else is hearing and seeing, but it just seems very messy and sad.
“It’s sad for the English game that we’re now being seen as a bit of a laughing stock.
“Hopefully the powers-that-be can get that sorted pretty quickly and get us back on an even keel.”
Headingley report: Page 23.