Gillespie interimly appointed Papua New Guinea Coach


Papua New Guinea has appointed former Australia fast-bowler Jason Gillespie as its coach on an interim basis. The nascent cricket team has the 2019 World Cup in its sight.

Gillespie, initially appointed as a consultant on a 12-month term, will fill in as interim head coach of the national side following the departure of former mentor Dipak Patel, confirmed Cricket Papua New Guinea chief executive Greg Campbell this week.

The Barramundis are set for a busy few months of cricket with a series of games against the National Performance Squad, the Australian Indigenous team and a Queensland XI in August, before hosting Scotland for two crucial matches in October.

“I’m really excited about it, as much to have another cricketing experience with another team and another country,” Gillespie told an online newspaper.

“It broadens my experiences and broadens my learning and hopefully it will hold me in good stead going forward.

“I’ll be interested to see firsthand how these guys go.”

With the Australia A tour to South Africa cancelled due to the ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association, Gillespie, who’d been appointed head coach of the ‘A’ side, is now set to link up with the PNG squad in Port Moresby later this month.

The former Yorkshire coach ruled out taking on the PNG job full-time due to his commitments with the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League, but said he’s looking forward to his upcoming stint.

“I have never been to PNG before,” the 42-year-old said. “I’m going to go up at the end of the month for a meet and greet, meet the players and staff and get to know everyone.

“I’m just excited to see how these guys go about their work. I’ve heard a lot of very good things.

“Papua New Guinea played against Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi in the preseason and I spoke to a few of my friends at Yorkshire and they said the PNG guys were fantastic.

“Speaking to Tim Nielsen, the high-performance manager at the SACA, he talked about how competitive the PNG guys are in the SACA Premier League.”

The World Cricket League Championship matches against Scotland loom large for the fledgling cricket nation in their push for the 2019 World Cup in the United Kingdom.

PNG narrowly missed out on qualifying for the last World Cup in 2015.

The ICC have reduced the number of teams to compete at the 50-over World Cup from 14 down to 10, making it tougher for the likes of PNG to qualify.

But strong showings against Scotland in their final two matches of the WCL Championship will seal a spot in the top-four and secure a berth at next year’s ICC World Cup qualifying tournament. The top-two sides from that competition will feature at the 2019 World Cup.