WORCESTERSHIRE’S Aussie ace Callum Ferguson revealed the impact made on his early career by Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie ahead of this week’s meeting between the two counties at Kidderminster.
The Pears returned to Specsavers County Championship action at Chester Road for the first time in 11 years yesterday (Tuesday) and for the first time since 2012 after New Road was wiped out by flooding.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Ferguson revealed he was in his teens when he first started playing alongside Gillespie for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield after making his domestic bow in Adelaide during the 2004/05 campaign for the Redbacks.
Gillespie left a lasting impression with Ferguson on how to approach the game before hanging up his spikes and embarking on a successful coaching career in this country with Yorkshire before his switch to Hove.
“We played three or four seasons together when I was first starting out for South Australia and, as a senior player, he was fantastic to me and looked after me really well,” Ferguson said.
“He certainly taught me a lot about how to play hard-nosed First Class cricket so I’ve got no doubt coming up against Sussex it is going to be a real challenge.
“Any side Jason Gillespie leads will put up a contest and play in the right spirit and certainly provide lots of challenges.”
The 34-year-old said he was looking forward to the game and hoped to catch up with Gillespie during the four-day encounter.
“Jason was a fantastic player, a legend of Australian cricket, there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“He was such a great character and everyone loved watching him, the long hair, the fierce competitive fast bowling, swinging it both ways.
“I loved watching him play in the Australian colours and I was very fortunate to have played with him.
“Now in the coaching sphere he is doing great things. He’s had some fantastic success with Yorkshire and doing a great job with Sussex now and also won the Big Bash with Adelaide Strikers,” Ferguson added.