Sport: Jason Gillespie takes charge of PNG Barramundis

3:31 pm on 17 July 2017

Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie has been appointed interim head coach of the Papua New Guinea men's cricket team.

The 42-year-old Gillespie, who played 71 Test matches and 97 one day internationals, taking 401 international wickets, said he was excited at the prospect of working with the Barramundis over the next few months as they attempted to qualify for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

"I'm approaching this opportunity with an open mind. PNG have some wonderfully talented cricketers and I see my role as to be there to support them in any way I can in their preparation and during game," said Gillespie.

The former Australia fast bowler now Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie playing for Australia in 2005.

Jason Gillespie playing for Australia in 2005. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Gillespie replaces former New Zealand international Dipak Patel, who parted ways with Cricket PNG earlier this month after three years in charge.

He has never been to Papua New Guinea before but said he had heard a lot of positives from his contacts in Australia and England.

"I have spoken to a number of people including my good friends (and former PNG coaches) Andy Bichel and Brad Hogg.

"They spoke glowingly of the players' skill and enthusiasm. I'm expecting the lads will be excited by the opportunities to play some quality cricket against good opposition over the next couple of months and to prepare accordingly."

Coach Dipak Patel and Assistant Coach John Ovia

Former PNG coach Dipak Patel and assistant coach John Ovia. Photo: PNG Cricket

Gillespie is the current Australia 'A' and Adelaide Strikers head coach, but will be able to link up with the PNG team as the 'A' tour to South Africa was cancelled, due to the ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association.

"Personally I see this as an opportunity to learn about different players in another cricket environment," he said.

"I will observe and offer my thoughts to players and coaches to stimulate good cricket conversations and offer any advice utilising my experience from other coaching roles."

Gillespie had previous coaching stints in charge of the Midwest Rhinos in Zimbabwe and English County side Yorkshire, where he led them to instant promotion from division two in 2012 and back-to-back division one titles in 2014 and 2015.

Yorkshire also played against the Barramundis in the UAE earlier this year.

"(I) got very positive feedback from the Yorkshire players and coaching staff. They said the PNG boys were fine players and really enjoyed playing against them. They said their fielding was exceptional."

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 other Australian state sides, before hosting Scotland in theIntercontinental Cup and World Cricket League Championships in October.

The Barramundis team during their Intercontinental Cup match against Namibia.

The Barramundis will be back in action next month. Photo: Cricket PNG