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Interview: Australian Cricket Legend, Ray Bright

2006/08/01 15:26 Celebrity Interviews

Australian Cricket Legend, Ray Bright

Raymond James Bright (born 13 July 1954) is a former Australian Test and One Day International cricketer. Bright ended his first-class career with 471 wickets at an average of 32.08 and scored two centuries. Since retiring from playing professionally after the 1987-1988 season, Bright has served as a selector for the Victorian state team and has taken on a number of coaching roles.

Ray Bright will be one of the celebrity guests at our 2006 Sports Extravaganza; a series of fundraising events including a hospital visit, gala dinner, golf day and a celebrity cricket match. Below is an interview by Tyler Foundation co-founder, Mark Ferris, and Ray Bright in anticipation of his Japan visit.

What have you been doing since you retired?

I’m still heavily involved in cricket. I’m a current Victoria Bushrangers selector, also a selector for our national under-17 and under-19 programs with a view to looking towards the various age-group World Cups that come around every 2 years or so. I also help out with the Victoria under- 19 squad as a spinner’s coach. I do some stuff for the Academy of Excellence in Brisbane – so yes, still actively involved in cricket – it still runs my life!! (laughs)

Who are some of the best batsmen that you bowled to in your career?

I reckon there are six – Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Alan Border, Clive Lloyd, Sir Viv Richards, and Ian Chappell. And you can throw David Gower in there as well. I certainly managed to hit the middle of their bats whenever I bowled to anyone on that list!!

You played a key role in the tied test match in Madras (1986) by taking 5-94. Tell us what that was like, especially the final over.

Yep, Greg Matthews and I both got five wickets in the second innings. It was certainly one of the most thrilling matches that I have ever played in. It was played in appalling conditions as far as heat and humidity were concerned, that has been well documented, and overall just a fiercely contested match which was really just a follow-on from the series we had had against India in Australia the previous year. So it was a pretty tense series all round. Actually no-one was sure who had actually won until the final result came out, but a wonderful match that’s for sure.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming Ashes series, Ray?

I hope England can get their best team on the park. With Vaughan, Jones and Flintoff to name three that might miss out, that would obviously put the advantage back in the Australian’s court. They certainly are three very key players for England, no doubt about that, and if they were to be under strength in any shape or form I think the Australians will win the Ashes. It was a fantastic series last year, and we had so few players contribute that we did well to come within a whisker of winning the series, so, you’d hope the Australians have received a bit of a wake-up call and with them on home soil you’d think they would win it. Then again, England, on present form are doing most things right, aren’t they?

Talk us through your only ODI (One Day International) ‘6’.

Actually I can’t remember ever hitting a ODI ‘6’, but I have hit two in tests.

Well before I contact cricinfo about their stats, tell us about those then.

Actually during the tied test. A sweep/slog off Ravi Shastri over midwicket – I think I was trying to hit one in the air to be caught because I was that tired, but well… And I managed to sweep Abdul Qadir, the Pakistani leg spinner, for six at Karachi. They are two of the sixes that I remember very fondly.

Moving on to the trip – what do you know about Japan? And cricket here?

I’ve had two sons that have played baseball over there and competed in the under-12 rubberball competition that they have every year, so I do know a little bit about it. But the main thing I know about cricket in Japan is Richard Laidler. He brought a team out from Gunma and they bought ten out and played against Vermont South, my local cricket club where my boy plays, and he ended up playing for the Japanese team to make up the numbers so, technically my son has represented Japan in an under-14 cricket match!! (laughs)

Lastly Ray, you are still very much involved in the selection and coaching of various teams in Australia; do you get any time to do charity work?

We used to have a game for Multiple Sclerosis down here which was played every year for about 15 years and I think I managed to play in about 12 of those, but yep the odd charity match comes up that I’m happy to play in but the body’s getting a bit old these days (sighs….)

Well, thanks very much for your time Ray and we’ll see you next month.

Cheers mate, looking forward to it.