Things might finally be looking up for Gillespie

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 09/02/2013
Mark Gillespie
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ
WORKHORSE: Mark Gillespie took 5-66 to help Wellington bowl Canterbury out for 346.

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Cricketer Mark Gillespie hasn't been quoted in this newspaper since March last year, when he took a six for 113 for New Zealand against South Africa at the Basin Reserve.

That was on top of the 5-59 the fast bowler snared in the previous test at Hamilton, after four years in the international wilderness.

The streets seemed like they would be paved with gold from then on for Gillespie. Instead he's endured injury, personal heartache and the reality that his test career might be over again.

Through it all he's continued to take Plunket Shield wickets for Wellington, including the 5-66 he claimed at the Basin yesterday to bowl Auckland out for 346.

The 33-year-old freely admits he's been down, but he refuses to bow out.

"I broke my ankle back in May-June and obviously I was going to the West Indies [with the Black Caps] having fought back into the test side and done well against South Africa. Everything looked like it was in front of me," Gillespie said last night.

"Then it all sort of fell apart and some other off-field stuff was happening in my life."

A change of fortune arrived in December when he was named as an injury replacement for New Zealand's Twenty20 team, only for him to strain an abdominal muscle that very day.

Gillespie's only just back on the park and this time last week swore he'd never play cricket again, as Wellington made hard work of playing Canterbury. After a better payday in the wickets column yesterday, all previous bets or promises are off.

Even if it might turn out that Wellington will be the only beneficiary of his toil.

"I believe in my ability and I believe in what I can offer, especially with the red ball. If you're asking me ‘do I think I'm one of the best red-ball bowlers in the country', I'd say yes every day.

"But it doesn't really matter what I think. The selectors pick a team and if I'm not in it, I'm not in it."

Gillespie took his 300th first-class wicket in the Canterbury game, with 275 of those having come for Wellington.

"I'm pretty passionate about moving up the leaderboard of wickets for Wellington and I've still got a fair way to go to beat Chats [Ewen Chatfield] who made 403."

Contact Hamish Bidwell
Sports reporter
Email: hamish.bidwell@dompost.co.nz

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