Heath Davis looks on the bright side

BY JONATHAN MILLMOW
Last updated 05:00 27/04/2010
Former New Zealand fast bowler Heath Davis
MAARTEN HOLL/The Dominion Post
STAYING POSTIVE: Former New Zealand fast bowler Heath Davis lost half of his left foot in an industrial accident, but has retained his sense of humour.

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Former Wellington and New Zealand fast bowler Heath Davis has lost half his foot but not his sense of humour.

Davis suffered a horrific workplace accident in Brisbane, but has joked to close friends that he got so sick of bowling no-balls he decided to do something permanent about it.

Even yesterday, he was upbeat as he spoke about the forklift accident that 15 months ago left him lying in a Brisbane hospital for 10 days before doctors decided to amputate half of his left foot.

The 38-year-old, who played five tests and 11 ODIs for New Zealand between 1994-1997, has a legal claim pending and is restricted in what he can say.

However, he said he was doing process work in a warehouse and while driving a high-reach forklift he came into contact with a post.

"The forklift slid out as I cornered and my foot was near the edge.

"As I went to brake my foot jammed on the edge between the bollard and the fork," Davis recalled.

"I managed to reverse it out of there and get my foot out and I could limp down and find someone. There was no witness but I found someone down the end of the aisle and they were able to help me."

Davis was rushed to hospital and eventually part of his foot was removed. Then there was a wait to see whether the skin would heal naturally at the tip of his crush injury.

"In the end they grafted a big hunk of skin and flesh off the top of my left thigh to cover the amputation.

"It wasn't too pretty for a while there, in fact it was ugly."

Davis has battled back to his feet.

He returned to his former job last August and recently stepped up to full duties again.

He has had a prosthetic made and some sport shoes modified to help his mobility.

"I'm a lot less active now and I've put on a bit of weight but apart from that I'm OK, I'm back driving."

Davis remains in love with cricket, a sport in which he enjoyed a cult following due to the blistering speeds he bowled, albeit with a perennial no-ball problem.

He is still doing some private cricket coaching, including assisting former New South Wales rep Rodney Davidson with the Redeemer Lutheran College first XI.

"I can build up to a jog, that is about the height of it and I can still roll my arm over off four paces.

"Everything is swinging in though when I bowl because it is hard to complete the [bowling] action."

Davis has been away from New Zealand for seven years. He has stayed in touch with the odd former team-mate, like Auckland's Matt Horne, but seems happy with life in Queensland.

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He sold his small gardening business when he left Auckland and now owns a home in Brisbane, which he rents out to allow him to live nearer the city.

"I like the winters here but I still have some family in Wellington and some friends, so I'd really like to come back for a holiday."

- The Dominion Post

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