ICL is the original league, IPL is knee-jerk reaction, says Jason Gillespie
Jason Gillespie, the first Aboriginal to play for Australia, says that he has no regrets for retiring from Test cricket and joining the Indian Cricket League. “In fact, I was fortunate to play for Australia in 71 Tests and for close to a decade. I enjoyed every bit of my career,” the 32-year-old Gillespie said on the sidelines of the on-going ICL at Lal Bahadur Stadium in the City.
“People keep talking about the fact that I missed 33 Tests in five seasons because of injuries and other reasons. But unfortunately, not many remember that I played 34 Tests on the trot which no Australian bowler (in recent times) could do,” remarked Gillespie, who formed a deadly combination with Glen McGrath and Shane Warne for Australia in its dream run at the top. Questioned whether he is disappointed at being ignored for the next series after scoring a double century in a Test against Bangladesh, the Australian bowler countered: “Let us be practical. There was a gap of seven months between that Test and the next series. There were quite a few players who had come back from injuries. The emphasis was on youth which I believe was the right thing to do keeping the future of Australian cricket in mind,” he explained.
Critics rated Gillespie always an unlucky bowler for repeatedly beating the batsmen but it was the bowlers from the other end who picked the wickets in big numbers.
How does he feel about it? “Again, one has to understand that I had a role to play. My job was to keep things tight. In a team of 12, every member including the 12th man who keeps the playing eleven comfortable has a big role to play. So, again I don’t feel I should be disappointed,” said Gillespie, who picked 259 wickets from 71 Tests. What were the best moments during his stint with the national team? “To see my teammates achieve what they are expected to do and help Australia to be the No.1 side in the world ,” he said.
The lanky Australian feels that too much is being written about India’s triumph in the CB triangular series recently ‘Down Under’. “Winning a couple of matches doesn’t make you the best team in the world. No doubt, it is a huge performance for the Indians. But, to be the best you have to be consistent over a period of time,” Gillespie commented. “I don’t think the Australians should be too concerned about the future. They will remain the No.1 side for the simple reason that the domestic cricket back home is the best in the world.,” the fast bowler explained. Definitely, the Indians have the talent to stay at the top but again they need to be consistent over a long period of time,” he said to a query. Commenting on the controversies in the just-concluded India-Australia series, Gillespie said that the best thing to do is to ignore any form of dissent or sledging.
“I am for aggression on the field. But I don’t believe in players complaining to the umpires or the officials off the field. If you start reacting, you should remember that you have conceded half the battle to the opponents,” was his explanation.
“The emergence of IPL by the BCCI is a knee-jerk reaction. ICL is the original league and not a rebel as is being referred to everywhere,” he pointed out.
The Australian fast bowler also felt that the recent Australian Government move of saying ‘sorry’ to the aborigines is a huge gesture which should help the Continent a long way. “I am delighted at the way things are moving on this front of late,” he concluded.V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM