The duo’s inclusion brings to seven the number of coaches working with the national team, with Alan Butcher, Heath Streak, Dave Haughton, Grant Flower and Stephen Mangongo already in the books.
Fast bowling has been Zimbabwe’s biggest let down in limited-over versions of the game in recent months.
Gillespie is a former Australian quickie while Allan Donald was once South Africa’s speed star.
After it was announced that Zimbabwe was being readmitted into the elite group of Test playing nations, fast bowling emerged as the major worrying factor ahead of the more challenging five day game.
Former national team captain Heath Streak, a fast bowler in his time, is the current national team bowling coach. But, so worrying has been the problem that Gillespie and Donald who have been hired by Midwest Rhinos and Mountaineers respectively, have been asked to work with the national team fast bowlers and other potential pace men each time franchise cricket takes a break. The cricket season starts next month and the national team’s next assignment will be against South Africa where they play three One-Day-Internationals and two T-20 Internationals starting on October 8.
National team convener of selectors Alistair Campbell revealed the arrangement just after the duo had been unveiled by their respective franchises on Wednesday. The two legends will work with the fast bowlers on a one to one basis during the period leading to the first Test match which will be against Asian Minnows Bangladesh next year.
“The two of them will work together with Heath each time the franchise cricket takes a break.
“We will identify potential fast bowlers and we will bring in all the national team fast bowling trialists together with those players that have been playing in the national team and expose them to this intensive coaching programme.
“These guys have a wealth of experience in that area and we think they would be the best people to help us because we are in need of good fast bowlers ahead of us getting back to playing Test cricket.”
Zimbabwe’s ambitions for a formidable quick bowling attack have been boosted by the return of Ian Nicholson who has represented the country at Under-19 level.
Nicholson has been playing cricket in Australia and has availed himself for selection into the national team.
Fast bowler Tinashe Panyangara has since made a return and will be available for selection in the national team.
“We have a number of guys coming back and already in addition to our bright prospects in Tendai Chitara and Christopher Mpofu we have about five players now who can bowl at a speed of about 140 km per hour, and we are very excited.
“The idea now is to have these guys improve their technique and control so that they can be able to sustain such speed.”
A host of other players are still being negotiated with by the selectors for a possible come-back.
Among them are all-rounder Sean Ervine and Glen Quel who have both played for Zimbabwe before.
“Glen and Sean are both coming in to play franchise cricket but there is still a good chance that they might make themselves available for selection into the national team.
“They are still looking to see the developments that we have made and at this stage they are impressed by the corners that we have taken.
“A lot more players in the Diaspora, some of whom are playing County cricket, are making inquiries about a possible come back.
“It’s all good news because it creates competition for places in the team, nobody is guaranteed a place. Everybody will have to work hard and even these returning guys will have to work hard to dislodge the guys that have been playing of late,” said Campbell.