Harare: Former Australia Test bowler Jason Gillespie, who was in the running to become England bowling coach after Otis Gibson left, has instead accepted an offer in Zimbabwe.
The 35-year-old Gillespie has been signed by the Midwest Rhinos team as head coach for Zimbabwe`s upcoming domestic season.
Kenyon Ziehl, the franchise`s chief executive, confirmed the Gillespie deal to The Associated Press today.
Gillespie is replacing former Zimbabwe batsman Andrew Waller as coach of the team, which is based in the country`s Midlands province town of Kwekwe.
Ziehl said Gillespie, who played 71 Tests and 97 ODIs for Australia as a right-arm fast-medium bowler, was delighted with the prospects of working in Zimbabwe.
"He is excited about it," Ziehl said. "He is bringing his family along, wife and three kids. He has heard all about Zimbabwe cricket`s resurgence and wants to be part of it.”
"We`ve secured him nice accommodation in the town (Kwekwe). Hopefully he will enjoy the experience. It`s a huge adventure for him. It`s a season`s contract. If things work well we will always extend it."
Although Gillespie has an unbeaten double century to his name as a nightwatchman -- against Bangladesh in 2006 – his spell with Rhinos will mainly benefit the bowlers.
"The boys are very excited, especially the bowlers," Ziehl said.
"Players from the other franchises now want to join our team to learn from his bowling expertise. It`s a huge thing for the franchise; an ex-Australian test bowler coming here. The whole community is excited."
Throughout his career, Gillespie was a reliable support bowler over several years for his more famous teammates, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
England hopeful Riki Wessels, the son of former South Africa and Australia international Kepler Wessels, is also returning to the Zimbabwean franchise for another season after making his debut in 2009-10.