OK, let’s get the cricket talk out of the way first. What does Australia have to do to win this Ashes series?
To begin with, everyone has to stay fit. They don’t want to lose any of their star players especially the bowlers. The conditions are going to suit the fast bowlers so we need them to take care of themselves. We can’t rely on the tail enders to get too many runs this time because they’ve been helping out a lot. The top order batsman are really important, so no injuries to them. Hopefully we’ll have our little hands on the urn for the first time in 14 years in England.
What are the pros for both teams?
England play very well in their own conditions, hence why we haven’t won over there since 2001. It’s always hard to win away from home, and it’ll be hard to win in England, but the boys are playing excellent, aggressive cricket and should be favourites for this series. Other pros are the depth in their bowling and Michael Clarke’s captaincy.
What is your greatest Ashes memory?
Beating England 5-0 in Australia in 2006-07. My last ever series playing international cricket and to beat the old enemy in a whitewash, and pull their pants down, was a lot of fun. Individually, my favourite highlight was bowling the Mike Gatting delivery in 1993, which was a bloody long time ago now! To do that in a first Ashes tour, first ball in England in a first Ashes Test, was pretty cool.
Did you always want to be a professional sports star?
I actually always wanted to be a professional [AFL] footballer and had three years at St Kilda Football Club. Unfortunately, they released me in 1988 so I had a year off, went to England in 1999, and basically got back and played cricket for Australia 18 months later. So, cricket sort of found me.
And, obviously, you learnt to love it?
It actually bored me in the summer. I just wanted to be down the beach with my friends but I played because my friends did. Over time I was very lucky to get the opportunity to play cricket – I don’t take that honour for granted, I was very privileged. Then I got a taste of playing international cricket and I was very determined to become the best version of myself and the best cricketer I could be. I like to think I repaid the faith the selectors showed in me at such a young age. I was 21 or 22 and only really played a couple of state games for Victoria before playing for Australia.
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