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30 years after debuting for the Black Caps, Heath Davis has become Aotearoa’s first male international cricketer, to come out as gay.
Davis (Ngāti Porou) played 11 one-dayers and five tests for the Black Caps, and developed a reputation as a relentlessly powerful pace-bowler; but 3 decades on has told The Spinoff his time at the top was a 'lonely' one.
"I was a bit afraid of being out in Wellington, being able to take my partner to the game." He said.
Davis conceded he developed a reputation as being a bit 'wild'; saying he occasionally sought refuge in drugs, even admitting he once took LSD before a top-tier match.
"I had taken a trip, yes. The mistake was telling people; and people that knew then came down on me.” he said.
Davis debuted against England in 1994, alongside Gavin Larsen. Larsen says a player with Davis' talent would be more likely to go even further today.
"I am in no doubt whatsoever that if Heath was emerging now as a guy in his late-teens, early-20s and he had the sort of support structures that are available now in professional cricket then we would have something very, very special."
Davis retired from cricket in 2004, moving across to Australia and out of the public eye.
“I just wanted a partner… I wanted a normal life. The life I’d grown up in wasn’t that. There was a part of me that needed to break free and I wanted a partner to love. That was really all.” He said.