“We’ve really worked hard to get some depth in our bowling,” Gillespie told reporters in Adelaide. “We had three bowlers over with Australia A in New Zealand at the end of the Shield season [and] we’ve got three fast bowlers playing county cricket at the moment.
“Not sure how many other states have got three fast bowlers playing in the County Championship so that’s a real feather in our cap here and a real credit to those individuals and being recognised for the work they do for South Australia which is great.
“Being able to take 20 wickets consistently in Shield cricket, that’s what contributes to Shield wins. To have that bowling depth is fantastic and I think we’ve got the best depth of fast bowling in the country so really excited about that.”
“There’s a talented cricketer there,” Gillespie said. “He’s a fine you batsman and an absolute jet in the field. We are excited to afford him an opportunity and certainly believe he’s got the skills to play a significant role.”
Smith made a return to South Australia colours with a last-minute comeback in the Marsh Cup final then the last Shield game of the season and will be in contention to fill the opening role created by Jake Weatherald’s move to Tasmania.
“Kelvin is a great story having got exposure at a young age then lost that opportunity,” Gillespie said. “[He] continued to score runs at premier level, went over to another state [WA] and continued to score runs, didn’t quite get the opportunity there, came back and continued to score runs then an opportunity presented itself. We should all celebrate that as a fantastic cricket story.”
“I felt this last season was Lloyd’s best season,” Gillespie said. “I know people go ‘that’s a bit weird, he hasn’t played a game’, but he’s continually developing his bowling. He’s making the improvements that he and the coaches identified. There’s no reason why Lloyd can’t play in the same side as Ben Manenti, just depending on circumstance and conditions.
“Lloyd did nothing wrong, he was bowling beautifully and just has to be patient. We have to remember with Lloyd Pope, he’s 22 years old, he’s a young man and he’s in a craft that is notoriously one of the most challenging in our sport and think he’s progressing wonderfully well. We have a lot of faith and belief in Lloyd Pope and what he can bring to the table, not just in the next year but long term.”
South Australia men’s contracts 2023-24 Wes Agar, Kyle Brazell (R), Jordan Buckingham, Aidan Cahill (R), Jake Carder, Alex Carey (CA), Harry Conway, Brendan Doggett, Daniel Drew, Jake Fraser-McGurk, David Grant, Travis Head (CA), Isaac Higgins (R), Henry Hunt, Thomas Kelly, Jake Lehmann, Ben Manenti, Harry Matthias (R), Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Harry Nielsen, Lloyd Pope, Liam Scott, Henry Thornton, Spencer Johnson, Kelvin Smith
CA = Cricket Australia contract, R = Rookie contract
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