Jason Gillespie’s retirement

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Jason Gillespie, the anti-Samson, pre-transformationJason Gillespie has effectively retired. He’s going to play in the ICL and that C in place of a P is the difference between making millions for no real sacrifice and making slightly less for being banned from first-class cricket. The IPL being the sanctioned Indian Twenty20 league of course. The ICL being the leper league.

Gillespie was the Aussie great who didn’t get to win back the Ashes. We shouldn’t feel too sorry for him though. He won the previous four, after all. Even so, it’s a bit of a low-key exit for a top bowler who’s easily overlooked. 259 Test wickets at 26.13 are the figures that shame the quick bowlers of today.

We used to think that Jason Gillespie was stupid. He’s not. This opinion was largely based on an interview with him where someone asked where the name ‘Dizzy’ came from. Gillespie said that someone had called it him once and it had just sort of stuck.

Who doesn’t know the reasons behind their own nickname, we thought. What a moron. But looking back, it was probably just nerves.

You might think of Jason Gillespie as a line and length medium-pacer who didn’t have the wherewithal to protect his figures when English bats got bigger in 2005, in which case you’ll think there’s a faintly tragic air about the man. We don’t pity that frail, put-upon later-version Gillespie though, because we remember what preceded it.

Before one Ashes series (it doesn’t matter which – they were much the same at the time), Steve Waugh described Jason Gillespie as the best bowler in the world. This was mostly rhetoric for English ears and a bit of support for a young player. After all, Gillespie wasn’t even the best bowler in the Australia side – nor even the second best.

However, Waugh made quite a strong case and if a cricket follower had arrived from the past with no knowledge of modern players, they might have believed him. He pointed out that Gillespie was tall, accurate, seamed it, swung it and bowled at over 90mph. What more could you want?

Resilience maybe. Gillespie was almost always injured or coming back from injury and this was probably why his pace reduced. He didn’t have a choice in the matter, unlike Shaun Pollock.

His career may have ended with quite a long fade-out rather than a bang, but at least we can say his Test career ended on an up-note – albeit an odd one. Jason Gillespie, that master blocker, who’d previously hit two Test fifties in about 90 innings, hit a double hundred against Bangladesh. That was a really, really weird day.

There’s hope for all tail-enders who work on their batting there though. He added a first-class hundred for Yorkshire the next summer and another for South Australia this season. With a stronger body, he might yet have made a batsman. Or maybe not.


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  1. I think you judged him a little harshly on the nickname thing. It was a stupid question from the interviewer. It would have been funny if Gillespie had said “oh, you know, I have low blood pressure and keep fainting”.

  2. Don’t know. It was one of those ‘meet the team’ type things where everyone was asked the same three questions.

    Trust us – it looked bad at the time.

  3. Maybe because he was embarrassed by the lameness of his nickname. It would sort of be like Steve “Evelyn” Waugh or Matthew “Franz Josef” Hayden. Probably the only reason that particular lame nickname stuck is that he couldn’t be called “Gilly” because that was already taken.

    Actually, lame nicknames are the bane of modern cricket. One would have a hard time coming up with a “Non-Lame Nickname XI”, while the -ys, -ies, and -ers would fill up a phone book. Unfortunately, the real good nicknames like Danger Anus don’t seem to stick.

  4. I must admit the blogging community (meaning you folks) have been striving mightily to improve the situation, e.g. Wing Commander and Badonkadonk, to name but two, but the mainstream media for their own nefarious reasons fail to pick it up.

    Instead, we have the world where perhaps the greatest player of his time (Sachin) has two nicknames, but both are lifted from other greats (and neither was much of a nickname to begin with): Master Blaster (Viv Richards) and Little Master (Don Bradman).

  5. I thought Little Master was Gavaskar. In which case it’s a THIRD-HAND nickname! gaaah!

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