Jason Gillespie checks in with Kent for short-term assistant coaching role

Ali Martin
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Jason Gillespie led Yorkshire to two County Championship titles and has described working with Kent as an opportunity he ‘couldn’t resist’.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Philip Brown/Getty Images</span>
Jason Gillespie led Yorkshire to two County Championship titles and has described working with Kent as an opportunity he ‘couldn’t resist’. Photograph: Philip Brown/Getty Images

Jason Gillespie, the former Australia fast bowler who won two County Championship titles during his time as head coach at Yorkshire, has joined Kent for a short-term assistant role as the club awaits the arrival of Allan Donald following a visa delay.

Donald, one-time scourge of England batsmen during his playing days for South Africa, was hired as full-time deputy to Kent’s new head coach, Matt Walker, in January but saw his initial visa application rejected due to what the club’s chief executive, Jamie Clifford, has called “bureaucratic barriers”.

Kent are confident the red tape in question – namely the requirement of a Level 3 coaching badge – will be overcome by the mid-point of the upcoming season. In the meantime, they have drafted in Gillespie on an interim basis.

The 41-year-old, who left Headingley at the end of last season after five years in order to return to his native Australia, said: “Obviously I moved back to Adelaide for family reasons last year but the opportunity to assist Kent on a short-term basis was one that I couldn’t resist and works well with my current situation. I look forward to helping Matt Walker and [club captain] Sam Northeast over the next couple of months until I hand over the reins to Allan Donald.”

Donald, 50, has previously coached at Warwickshire in county cricket and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, as well as enjoying international spells working with the bowling attacks of England, New Zealand and South Africa, and is now working towards the relevant qualifications.

Clifford, Kent’s chief executive, added: “Jason brings a wealth of experience as a player and coach in England and overseas. It’s unfortunate that a world-class coach, Allan, is unable to join us as planned due to bureaucratic barriers but Jason will be a fine addition to the staff.”

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