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Jason Gillespie believes Travis Head can create a legacy at Sussex CCC

Jason Gillespie believes Travis Head can create a legacy at Sussex CCC
Jason Gillespie believes Travis Head can create a legacy at Sussex CCC

Jason Gillespie believes Travis Head can create a legacy every bit as enduring as some of Sussex’s other great overseas players when he belatedly begins his career with the county.

Although Sussex are still hopeful that there will be some county cricket this year, they have decided to delay the start of the Australian’s contract until 2021.

But when he does arrive, Gillespie – who knows Head well in his role as coach of the Adelaide Strikers in Australia's Big Bash League – thinks the left-hander is capable of one day being classed in the same bracket as the likes of Murray Goodwin and Mushtaq Ahmed, who played such integral roles in the success the county enjoyed at the start of the century.

“It’s a shame Travis can’t come over this year,” said Gillespie. “I know how much he was looking forward to it, but obviously with all the uncertainty about when or if we play domestic cricket this season it was the right decision.

“But we’re delighted he’s committed to us for next season and beyond. Great overseas players have been such a part of county cricket down the years. Every county has had them. You think of guys like Mushy, Murray Goodwin and Steve Magoffin in recent years at Sussex and going back a bit to legends like Malcolm Marshall at Hampshire and Clive Rice and Richard Hadlee at Notts.

“We’d love Travis to create that sort of legacy with Sussex in the future and I know he’s looking forward to putting down some proper roots. He doesn’t want to play for five or six counties as some overseas players have done in recent years. When your overseas player becomes part of the club he brings so much more value, even to things like sponsorship and of course he creates a rapport with the supporters and members.

“Travis will be 27 when he comes to Sussex next year so he’s approaching the peak years and we’re looking forward to having him around.”

Australia coach Justin Langer, who played for Middlesex and Somerset, is keen for his players to experience county cricket according to Gillespie. “Very much so,” said Gillespie. “JL says he learned a lot about his own game from playing in England and he’s keen for the guys to experience it as well.”

Gillespie has been back home in Adelaide since March after Sussex’s pre-season tour to South Africa was aborted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is in regular touch with Chief Executive Rob Andrew and Director of Cricket Keith Greenfield and will come to Hove if the county season gets going later in the summer.

“If there is cricket I will be back,” he said. “I know the priority is international cricket but if we could get a couple of months of meaningful competition at the end of the season it would give everyone a lift.”