Cricket: Battling Gillespie shows he's back on track

By David Leggat

Mark Gillespie. Photo / Getty Images
Mark Gillespie. Photo / Getty Images

The rest of Mark Gillespie's year looks distinctly different now from what it did a couple of weeks ago.

Back then, his plan was to get through the last two Plunket Shield games for Wellington then rest a weary body.

"I was getting ready for the season to end, then get my body right over winter," he said last night. "Two weeks ago I was having to go and find a job. Now hopefully things might be a little different."

There's every chance of that, after his second consecutive top-notch effort against South Africa.

A tour to the West Indies looms in July-August, then there are trips to India, Sri Lanka and finally South Africa at the end of the year.

His six for 113 yesterday followed five for 59 in Hamilton 11 days ago. Gillespie's international career is certainly back on track after just three tests since November 2007.

His wholehearted qualities, allied to sharp pace and willingness to battle through the discomfort that is a fast bowler's constant companion, have put a late bloom into his career.

He had an appreciative audience yesterday - his wife, parents, brothers and their families were at the Basin Reserve and "to do it in front of them was pretty special".

His back problems are well documented, but his first priority after this test is to fix a split in the big toe of his left foot.

"Basically I've got a mouth on my toe," was 32-year-old Gillespie's description of a horizontal split across the toe, which gets thumped into the ground with every delivery.

"It's funny. I probably had two or three hours' sleep last night, the toe was just throbbing. But it was quite good because, yes it's a lot of pain, but it deflects every other pain you've got."

- NZ Herald

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