Jason Gillespie (Right) has come for widespread praise across England for transforming Yorkshire's fortunes © Getty Images
Jason Gillespie (Right) has come for widespread praise across England for transforming Yorkshire’s fortunes © Getty Images

By Julian Guyer

London: Sep 12, 2014

Jason Gillespie said he was pleased to have carried out the wishes of Yorkshire great Geoffrey Boycott after guiding the side to their first English County Championship title in 13 years on Friday. Yorkshire’s innings and 152-run First Division victory away to nearest pursuers Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge saw them extend their record for most Championship titles to 32.

Headingley-based Yorkshire had just been relegated to the Second Division when former Australia fast bowler Gillespie took charge in November 2011 and he was left under no illusions as to what was expected of him by Boycott, one of England’s best opening batsmen.

“I’m just one person. It’s why we are called support staff,” Gillespie, who has two spells as an overseas player.

“The club was disappointed to be back in Division Two and certainly our President at the time, Mr Geoffrey Boycott, left me in no doubt about what we had to do.

“I spoke to the lads, I’m big on enjoying the game,” said Gillespie, who last season saw Yorkshire finish runners-up behind Durham.

“Work hard, but enjoy it. We’ve done that. We are here to entertain people, so let’s put on a show. It’s a long season, it’s a challenge,” added the 39-year-old, who took 259 wickets in 71 Tests at an average of 26.13 apiece as a key member of Steve Waugh’s all-conquering Australia side.

Friday saw former England paceman Ryan Sidebottom, the sole survivor from the last time Yorkshire won the County Championship — English cricket’s first-class domestic competition, take centre stage.

Left-armer Sidebottom took six for 30 and finished with nine wickets in the match as Yorkshire dismissed Nottinghamshire for 177 in their second innings.

Victory was particularly sweet for the 36-year-old Sidebottom, who twice won the Championship in his seven years with Nottinghamshire before returning to his native county.

Gillespie’s role meant Australians had played roles in both Yorkshire’s two most recent Championship successes, with Darren Lehmann — his former South Australia team-mate and now Australia’s coach — starring as a batsman in the White Rose’s 2001 triumph when they were coached by compatriot Wayne Clark.

One sadness, however, for Yorkshire was that captain Andrew Gale was not on the field as he was banned for the rest of the season after a spat with South Africa batsman Ashwell Prince during the champions’ Roses win over Lancashire a fortnight ago.

Not only was Gale prevented from playing in the final two matches of the Championship campaign, he was also banned from receiving the trophy during Friday’s on-field presentation ceremony, with that honour falling to stand-in skipper and England batsman Joe Root.

Former Yorkshire and England opener Michael Vaughan called the England and Wales Cricket Board‘s (ECB) ruling stopping Gale collecting the trophy as “nothing short of disgraceful”.

Gale was unavailable for interview, with Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon instead summing up the mood of his captain, who watched the victory from the dressing room balcony at Trent Bridge.

“It’s been hard for him, obviously,” said Moxon. “It’s the moment he’s cherished so for him not to be able to be out there to collect the trophy is very hard for him to take.

“But the bottom line is everybody knows that Andrew Gale is captain of Yorkshire 2014, when we won the county championship. Ultimately, that’s all that matters.”

The ECB defended its position later Friday by saying it was “not felt appropriate” for Gale to take part in the presentation ceremony given he still faced a disciplinary hearing.