Former New Zealand fast bowler Heath Davis has become the country’s first male international cricketer to publicly come out as gay.
According to ESPN, Mr Davis is renowned as one of the fastest bowlers New Zealand has ever produced. The 50-year-old played five Tests and 11 One Day International (ODI) for the Black Caps between 1994 and 1997. In his overall Test career, he took 17 wickets in five matches and claimed 11 wickets in ODIs.
Now, decades after his Test debut, Mr Davis publicly revealed for the first time his sexuality in an episode of the documentary series titled ‘Scratched: Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends’. He told The Spinoff that it was during his first tour to England in 1994 when he started to really discover himself, although he had told his mother at an early age he was gay.
“The first tour to England [in 1994], I was starting to discover myself, was going to a few bars and things privately to see what life was… well, you are on the other side of the world, no one is going to know you. I left that part of my life there. There was a lot of that, just keeping your personal life separate,” he said.
The cricketer also opened up about the “lonely” experience of living separate lives on and off the field until he moved from Wellington to Auckland.
“It was lonely. Going to saunas and seedy places to get sex because you didn’t want to be seen and that sort of stuff. I had systems and people in place where I could talk about these things but I didn’t feel comfortable,” Mr Davis added.
He revealed that he entered his first gay relationship when he was 27 years old while playing for Wellington, but the pair was reluctant to appear in public. He said that when an offer of a contract came from Auckland, he saw an opportunity to move away from the city. And after shifting, he then told his new team’s manager he was gay, which was passed on to his team members and “didn’t seem to be that big an issue”.
Notably, as per ESPN, the first international male cricketer to publicly come out as gay was the former England wicketkeeper Steven Davies in 2011.
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