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England cricketer Steve Davies announces he is gay

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LONDON (AP) _ England wicketkeeper Steve Davies has become the country’s first professional cricket player to publicly announce he is gay.

“It is something I have lived for a long time with and I am really comfortable about things with now,” Davies said. “I have got nothing to hide and I am ready to tell people.”

The 24-year-old Surrey player made the announcement late Sunday in video interviews on the websites of The Sun and Daily Telegraph newspapers, saying he told England coach Andy Flower last year before going on the Ashes tour to Australia, where he played in the limited-overs matches.

It was a tough thing for me to do, to tell him face to face, but I had to do it,” Davies said. “He supported me 100 percent, him and (captain) Andrew Strauss. It was the right thing to do as I felt I couldn’t live like this any more.

“I didn’t enjoy going on tour too much because of the secret.”

Meeting up with the squad in November for the first time since the announcement was nerve-racking, Davies said.

Everyone was great – they just said it wasn’t an issue,” Davies said. “Matt (Prior) came and gave me a hug. He couldn’t believe I had kept it to myself for this long. He said I should have told him. That was special.”

Prior is also a wicketkeeper and beat Davies to a spot in the squad for the World Cup, which is currently taking place in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

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,” Flower said on the England and Wales Cricket Board website. “I have no doubt that he will continue to work hard to regain a place in the England squad.”

Davies said he told his family and close friends he was gay at the age of 19. He was inspired to go public after Wales rugby center Gareth Thomas made the same announcement in December 2009.

Davies said that before Thomas “came out there was no one to look up to.”

It just showed me it can be done,” Davies said. “He was brave enough to stand up and say who he was.”

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Associated Press

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