Sydney: England wicket keeper Steve Davies, who missed out a spot in the squad for the World Cup, has become the country’s first professional cricketer to publicly announce that he is gay.
Two years ago, Wales rugby centre Gareth Thomas went public with his homosexuality.
The 24-year-old Davies made the announcement in video interviews on the websites of a leading news paper.
Davies said he told England coach Andy Flower last year before going on the Ashes tour to Australia in which he played in the limited-over matches.
“I have got nothing to hide and I am ready to tell people ... I feel it is right to be out in the open about my sexuality. I’m comfortable with whom I am - and I’m happy to say who I am in public,” Davies, said.
“To speak out is a massive relief for me personally - but if I can just help one person to deal with their sexuality, then that’s all I care about.
At the end of my career I want to be remembered as a good cricketer, not just as a gay cricketer,” he said.
Flower said Davies should be regarded first and foremost as a talented cricketer.
“This is something Steve chose to discuss with myself and the squad some time ago.
I would like to make it very clear that Steve is first and foremost a very talented cricketer and a valued member of the England setup,” he said.
“His private life is his own concern and has absolutely no bearing on his ability to excel at the very highest level in international sport and I have no doubt that he will continue to work hard to regain a place in the England squad,” Flower said.
English players union chairman Vikram Solanki said Davies’ personal preferences had been known among his peers for some time.
“Steve has the full support of all his colleagues in cricket,” he said.