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KFC T20 INTLS V SRI LANKA

Brilliant to be back in Australian gold

16 February 2017

Jason Gillespie has been working with Australia's T20I side as assistant to Justin Langer // cricket.com.au

Our voices

T20I assistant coach Jason Gillespie takes us inside the team's preparations in his latest column

About the Writer:
 @dizzy259

Jason Gillespie is a fast bowling legend. He took 259 Test wickets, and 142 more in ODIs. He scored 201 not out in his final Test before forging a successful career as a coach, and currently helms the Adelaide Strikers

It's absolutely fantastic to be back in Australian colours as an assistant coach for the upcoming T20 International series against Sri Lanka.

Ever since I got told I'd be getting the opportunity to help with this series, I've been looking forward to it – it's an honour to be asked and to be thought of that way.

I could have hardly asked for two better people to be coaching alongside in my former Test teammates Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting.

I've loved working those two so far, 'JL' and 'Punter' are two people I respect very highly.

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I'm hoping to learn as much as I can off them, while also offering what I can to the players.

I'm here to help and that's the attitude I'm taking into this series. We're here to help players live their dream and play for Australia. It's an absolute privilege.

I have to say, I got a bit giddy just putting on the training kit for the first time on Wednesday. I got excited even just pulling the training top on for my headshot! It's the first time I've unravelled a brand new set of Australia clothes since my playing days. That was a big deal for me, and all I'm doing is throwing balls in the nets and hitting the players catches – I'm not even playing!

So I know it must be an absolute thrill for some of the new players to be going through what they are at the moment. Playing for your country is absolutely brilliant and I'm completely delighted for them.

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It's young quick Jhye Richardson's first time around an Australian set-up, Ashton Turner has never played for Australia. And how good is it for Michael Klinger to get his first chance to represent his country?

Quick Single: Delighted Klinger eyes hometown debut

Everyone's jumping around like kids in candy stores and training on Wednesday really reflected that. Every player trained the house down and I was blown away by how pumped they all are to be here.

Klinger has been rewarded for strong performances in domestic cricket for a long time, which is fantastic. A lot has been made this summer about selection and sides that have been picked – there are 20 million selectors out there! But what people need to understand is there are three distinct forms of the game these days. There's management issues, there's burnout issues. Selectors, coaches and high-performance staff are all doing the best they can and getting the right people into the teams.

As a member of the support staff, and I think I can speak for JL and Ricky here, we're all jumping out of our skins to help some of the best players in Australia improve their games. They, along with the rest of the squad, are in the shopfront window. It's their chance to impress, so everyone's chomping at the bit.

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I know there's been some talk about this series maybe not being quite as important with the Test squad in India, but JL has emphasised to the group to forget all that and to grab the chance to play for Australia.

JL's overriding message was simple: this is the Australian cricket team, it's as good as opportunity as any to show everyone how good you are.

All he's asked for is 100 per cent effort and the lads have certainly done that so far, based on training.

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In terms of our opposition, we've just been trying to familiarise ourselves really with some of the Sri Lanka players we don't know too much about.

There are quite a few unknowns in their side, we haven't been able to track down too much vision of some of the players. Some of them haven't played much cricket at all.

But what we have done is try to tap into the experience of guys in our dressing room.

Plenty at stake in Sri Lanka series: Finch

There are players like Aaron Finch and James Faulkner who have played a lot of international cricket and have come up against a few of their players before. There are a lot of conversations going on over training, over coffee, at dinner about the Sri Lankan players.

As coaches we offer any information we feel is relevant. But ultimately, we try to enforce the positive things that they do and focus on their own strengths, rather than what the other team does too much.

One guy we do know a bit about is Lasith Malinga and it's natural that the batters have spent some time discussing how to best prepare for him.

Quick Single: Aussies on high alert after Malinga return

He's a bit of an unknown quantity at the moment only because he hasn't played much in the past 12 months. He's had dengue fever and knee trouble, but if last night's Prime Minister's XI match was anything to go by, he looks like he's back and firing!

Malinga sizzles with first-over wicket

All players want to play against the best and this is a great chance to do that. We know what Malinga does – he comes in and he swings them from that low, slingy action. He's got a nice change of pace too.

The batters will all know that and a lot of the lads have played plenty of cricket against him in the BBL.

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