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Cult New Zealand Test cricketer Heath Davis comes out as gay, admits to playing while on drugs

Cult hero New Zealand Test cricketer Heath Davis has come out as gay almost 20 years after retiring and admitted the sad truth about having to repress his sexuality while he was in the national tteam.

It was just one of many bombshell revelations from the 50-year-old, who now lives in Brisbane.

Davis played five Tests and 11 one-day internationals for New Zealand in the 1990s as well as 71 first-class matches in a career full of incredible stories.

He is the first Test cricketer from the country to reveal he is gay. 

Heath Davis has come out as gay almost 20 years after retiring from professional cricket

Heath Davis has come out as gay almost 20 years after retiring from professional cricket

Asked about rumours he’d played a game while high on acid, he replied, ‘I had a trip, yes … not advisable,’ in an interview with The Spinoff.

Davis said he first started to explore his sexuality on tour with the Black Caps in England in 1994, and would go out on his own in Soho – a part of London famous for its gay nightclubs. 

‘It was lonely going to saunas and seedy places to get sex because you didn’t want to be seen,’ said Davis.

‘I was repressing it, I wasn’t leading a gay life.’ 

Former New Zealand Test cricketer Heath Davis came out as gay in an interview 20 years after he retired from the game

Former New Zealand Test cricketer Heath Davis came out as gay in an interview 20 years after he retired from the game

Eventually, after spending most of his first-class career playing for Wellington, Davis realised he needed a change in scenery if he was going to be himself.

He moved to Auckland, where he says everyone in the team knew he was gay, and started to feel more comfortable about embracing his sexuality. 

‘I was a bit afraid of being out in Wellington … I was sick of hiding it. There was this part of my life I needed to express,’ Davis said. 

‘There were no issues aside from a bit of petty s**t from young guys in the team.’ 

After moving to Brisbane in 2004, the Kiwi had a shocking workplace accident in a forklift that led to him having most of his left foot amputated.

Davis bowls for the New Zealand 'A' side against England in 1997. He became a cult hero in Kiwi cricket with his unpredictable bowling

Davis bowls for the New Zealand ‘A’ side against England in 1997. He became a cult hero in Kiwi cricket with his unpredictable bowling

Somehow, he was still able to see the funny side. 

‘I had to get rid of it, I couldn’t stand stepping over the line anymore,’ Davis joked to friends and family at the time, in reference to his penchant for bowling no-balls in his cricket career.

Davis’ long-time Wellington teammate Stephen Mather was one of the very few people he told about being gay, which provided an outlet of sorts. 

Maher joked about the tearaway quick’s hilarious nickname, and has many a story to tell about his former teammate – though he admits he still hasn’t quite figured him out.  

‘He had the nickname Raven, which was short for stark ravin’ mad,’ Mather laughed. 

‘I can’t work out whether Heath is the most complicated person in the world, or the most straightforward person in the world.’ 

Heath Davis bowling in his Test debut for New Zealand against England in 1994

Heath Davis bowling in his Test debut for New Zealand against England in 1994

The eye-catching fast bowler was almost as famous for his inconsistency as he was for his searing pace. 

He was capable of unleashing absolute bullets that would leave hapless batsmen ducking and weaving – and best Test figures of 5/63 are a testament to that.

Davis was selected for the Black Caps as a 22-year-old after just two seasons with Wellington, and famously bowled one of the worst first Test deliveries in history.

With English cricket great Michael Atherton on strike, Davis’ first delivery went several metres wide down the leg side, with iconic umpire Dickie Bird signalling for four wides.

Fortunately he recovered, and continued to play Test and first-class cricket at a pretty high level until retiring in 2004.  

New Zealand chief selector Gavin Larsen said Davis had an ‘exceptional gift’.

‘He was probably the fastest bowler in the country, he could give any batsman the hurry-up,’ Larsen recalled. 

‘But man, did he bowl no-balls, it was infuriating – he simply could not keep his foot behind the front line.’ 

Davis also elaborated on his tough upbringing in state-run housing in what he describes as a ‘rough area’ near Wellington, admitting: ‘I was a little bit feral, perhaps, but had a good work ethic.’ 

He also revealed that despite it might ‘sound weird’, he was now ‘seeking Christ’ and is a member of a men’s Christian group in Queensland.



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