Sunday, July 21, 2024

SACA: The day Jason Gillespie was reunited with his lost Baggy Green

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Photo Credit: South Australian Cricket Association

SACA celebrated its 152nd birthday on Wednesday and we acknowledged the day by recapping Australia’s second biggest One Day International win at Adelaide Oval – a 152-run win over India – the same day Jason Gillespie was reunited with something very special.

That game was on January 26, 2000 and coincidentally, on the same day, our West End Redbacks coach Jason Gillespie was reunited with his long-lost Baggy Green at Adelaide Oval!

Gillespie’s Baggy Green was stolen whilst on tour in South Africa in 1997 and was found for sale at an auction two years later.

Cricket Australia went through the process of getting it back and reunited Gillespie with his prized Baggy at Adelaide Oval during the Australia and India ODI in 2000.

Gillespie said it was a moment of relief when he was presented it by the then Australian Cricket Board chairman Malcolm Speed.

“I went through all my kit and it became really clear that it disappeared because I was quite anal about where I keep my Baggy Green,” Gillespie said.

“It just went walkabout either at the ground or at the hotel – all I knew was that it was gone.

“It was just a relief really to have it back. I had a replacement but as soon as I got my original one back I reverted to that, the one I wore for the majority of my career.

“To be able to get my original one back was really nice.”

Because of this little scenario, Gillespie now has four different Baggy Greens – the original, the replacement, a special one for the Centenary of Federation Test Match in 2001 which features gold piping and a new one he requested to signify a new beginning after being out of the side in 2005 and being reselected for a tour of Bangladesh in 2006.

Ironically, the fresh start only lasted two Tests, but the fast bowler did hit a double century with the new cap in his kit bag!

These aren’t the only caps Gillespie has, with him amassing many others over the years to add to a prized collection.

“I have my South Australian cap, my Yorkshire cap, my Glamorgan cap – all the teams I played First Class cricket for,” he said.

“Darren Gough gave me one of his Test playing caps when I played cricket with him at Yorkshire. I said I liked caps and he said ‘I’ve got 10 of them, I’ll give you one’.

“So two days later, he turns up and said ‘I’ve worked out I’ve only got three or two, but I’m a man of my word, I promised I’d give you one.’ I’m very grateful of that.

“I’ve got a Shield cap of Greg Chappell’s – it’s a Baggy Blue the last year before South Australia went from the Baggy Blue to the Baggy Red.

“I also bought on an auction site the Under 19 South Australian cap of Jeff Hammond, my first State coach here. I’ve got a few quirky ones.”

Gillespie believes there is a symbolism of a Baggy cap – no matter what colour or what level you receive it at.

“It’s not just a cap, it’s what it represents – it represents the hard work and the effort that’s gone into reaching the stage of being presented a cap,” Gillespie explained.

“Whether you’ve gone up to A-Grade cricket, whether you’ve been picked in the second level, whether you’re playing a State game – it’s going to be different for every person at every level.

“For someone, reaching C-Grade might be the pinnacle of their career and that doesn’t make it any less important than someone making their Shield or Test debut.

“Cherish it because it’s what you’re own personal achievement and the cap on your head symbolises that you’ve earned it.”

The symbolism of the cap was on show last summer, where all living male and female South Australian players were invited to functions and were each given a matching Baggy Red, only differentiated by their cap number.

Given male caps have changed from blue to red and have featured differing logos over 152 years, while some female players never even had a Baggy Red, it was a special moment for all past players to receive matching caps.

“The differing styles of the cap were a part of history and it shows the timeline of history, but for everyone to now have the same cap is pretty cool,” Gillespie said.

“They really feel like a part of a special club.”

We want to see your Baggy’s – no matter the colour or level! Recreate the excitement of Dizzy being reunited with his Baggy Green and send it to us on SACA socials for your chance to be featured!

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