Even at 28 and doing well I never thought of wearing the Baggy Green
Iwas 18 at the time I came over to the UK to play club cricket, I’d done a year studying commerce at university and didn’t particularly love it.
I didn’t really have any idea of what I wanted to do in life, and Paul Terry, the former Test player for England, was playing in Melbourne.
He was my coach at the time and he got contacted by Brian Palmer from North Devon CC, so I travelled over with Dimitri Mascarenhas.
I got picked up at the airport by our vice-captain, our fast bowler – 44 and four stone overweight. I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for! But it was great. David Shepherd was at the club and it’s just the most picturesque ground I’ve ever played at, right on the coast.
It wasn’t until I was 23 that I really thought I was going to play professionally when I got a contract at Western Australia.
But Australia were so good that I never really thought I was going to play for them, even when I was 26, 27, 28 and doing really well. There was always one person in front of me whether it was Phil Jaques, Simon Katich, Phil Hughes or Ed Cowan.
Then, all of a sudden, when I was 29, the side started to break up and there were spots becoming available.
I made my debut against India and we had this meeting and I didn’t know what the hell was going on! I was just sitting there thinking:“Is this for real, am I actually playing?” I remember two days before, Andrew Symonds showed off his new tattoo of his Australia number, but he’d got it wrong and had to get it fixed!
I had trouble with my baggy green, it was too tight so I had to stick it with a pair of scissors, so the one I’ve got now is my second!
It was tough initially in the 2013 Ashes with the comments from past players. I was starting to struggle and then had the good innings in Manchester; I got 84 and played really well. That gave me confidence and I remember going to Durham and it looked like a green wicket but I played really well to get a hundred and was pretty proud of that.
We were very nervous going into the return series, but people believed and thought that England weren’t that far ahead of us and that we could get past them. I never thought we could beat them 5-0.
The moment really was when we got Jonathan Trott out in the first innings on the stroke of lunch. All of a sudden you felt like “actually, what we’re doing is working”. We felt the sledging was a bit off, so we wanted to get some payback – we were quite inspired I think.
Winning in South Africa was pretty special in 2014, because they were the best at the time. I got a hundred in the second Test where we lost but apart from that I didn’t do a lot. But to win the last Test on the last session of the last day, and Ryan Harris being the hero was an incredible experience to be a part of. That’s my No.1 – that was amazing.
The England series was good in 2015, although it was a sad time as well for me.
The first Test was a good way to start, got me off in the right foot, Lord’s was harder than anywhere in the world to bat in the first innings but possibly the best place in the world to bat second time around. I like to bat there, it’s a skill in itself and
that 170, was probably the highlight of my career. After finishing my career with Somerset, I’ll head back to Australia now, do bit of commentary back home, some media, I’ll probably try and get into coaching. We’ll wait and see.