Australian Gillespie to quit, may join ICL

February 23rd, 2008 - 9:00 pm ICT by admin  


Sydney, Feb 23 (IANS) One of cricket’s favourite characters, Jason Gillespie, is set to announce his retirement from international cricket, Australian media reported Saturday. The South Australian fast bowler is believed to be making a statement Sunday announcing his departure from international and state cricket.

Gillespie’s announcement will surprise some as he has a Cricket Australia contract and, at just 32 and displaying good form, could still play a significant role.

He had expressed an interest in the Indian Premier League but failed to come to an agreement. The rebel Indian Cricket League is believed to be considering making the charismatic quick an offer.

Joining the ICL would end Gillespie’s domestic and international career, as CA has said any player involved in the non-sanctioned league will be banned from first-class cricket.

The Pura Cup match between South Australia and Queensland in Adelaide, starting next Friday, is expected to be his farewell match. He also has a contract with Welsh county club Glamorgan.

His unexpected poor form in Australia’s 2005 Ashes loss probably cost him his international career. He was chosen for a tour to Bangladesh in 2006, but that was it.

Gillespie represented Australia in 71 Tests and took 259 wickets at an average of 26. Amazingly, he scored a double century in his final Test appearance, in Chittagong in April 2006. He also took 142 wickets in 97 one-day internationals. His opening bowling partnership with Glenn McGrath was one of Australia’s best and his haul of wickets places him fifth on the all-time list for his country.

Even at McGrath’s peak, former Australian captain Steve Waugh - with whom Gillespie had a sickening on-field collision in Sri Lanka in 1999 - labelled Gillespie the best bowler in the world.

He will also be remembered as a great character. His mullet hairdo gained a life of its own, as did his penchant for heavy metal. No one has a bad word to say about him.

In an interview with The Sun-Herald at the start of the summer Down Under Gillespie said he had enjoyed the past two years of his career more than any other period, as he had been able to relax a little more.

“I almost wish I had this attitude earlier on because I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more,” he said.

“It takes time and experience to work these things out. That’s what I’m loving about playing the game and that’s why I still play.”

However, he also talked about his desire to make up for lost time with his family, especially his daughter from a previous relationship, Sapphire, who was born when Gillespie was just starting his international career.

“I do get to see her but not as much as I’d like,” he said. “It’s always just a short time, but it’s all we can do and we make the most of it. We’ve got a very close bond and I’ve always wanted to spend more time with her.”

Gillespie will also want to spend more time with his wife Anna and sons Jackson, 2, and Brandon, four months. “I’ve been travelling for years, basically since I left school, so it’s been nice to spend more time at home,” he said. “It’s been unusual, but great.”

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