'The Packer thing kind of broke the Australian team'

Gary Cosier pulls away from a delivery from Ian Botham in the Perth Test of 1978 Getty Images

Greg Chappell was at the other end when I walked out to bat at the MCG in my first Test match. He was about 50-odd not out. Andy Roberts had just taken the second new ball and I thought Greg would do the right thing here by the young bloke and take over for a bit. I finished the final hour of the day 44 not out and Greg faced about six balls.

Ian Chappell was an outstanding captain because he always wanted to change the game. He'd always place himself in front of the team when things got tough.

In the mid-'70s, the Sheffield Shield was renowned as the best first class competition in the world.

I remember playing against Hoggy when we were in the under-13 churches competition. He was ten and I was nine.

I fielded short leg, and the two hardest blokes I've ever had to judge were Viv Richards and Greg Chappell, because they both played the ball so very late. Usually you can have a look at the batsman's feet and have an idea if the ball is going to go off side or leg side, or what shot is coming, but they both played the ball so late and whipped it from off to leg really quickly.

I bowled a lot in Sheffield Shield cricket, first change, second change. I probably wasn't quick enough against the really good players.

I opened the batting with Bill Lawry as a 15-year-old, for Northcote Cricket Club in Victoria. Bill played district cricket like he played Test cricket. He'd play five games and score 800 runs.

Night Test matches will be great. Pinkish ball will swing like hell. The batsmen will struggle, but it'll be great practice for guys to go to England, because it's exactly how the ball behaves in England.

"Without the Packer players, when Australia played Test cricket, there was no sequence to our play, no experience, nothing to fall back on"

Bobby Simpson, when he came back to captain Australia, aged 42, had no experienced players around him other than Jeff Thomson. He didn't have the players around him to do well. He gave me a bowl, though, so he must've been a good captain, I suppose!

I was disappointed to be the only one from the Centenary Test team who was left out of the Packer squad. I never had any explanation as to why I wasn't picked.

In England in 1977, we struggled for a start to the innings. Richie Robinson even opened in the first Test, at Lord's [he'd scored 70 in the third one-dayer as an opener]. Rick McCosker didn't get any runs, Ian Davis didn't get that many.

Hoggy would have played for Victoria, as a youngster, except he didn't like to train that hard, particularly on hot days.

I was told to open against* India in 1977-78. I'd opened in club cricket when I was younger and for Victoria when I was 18. But I hadn't opened for eight years, although batting at six you got the second new ball a lot. It was really out of the blue. I didn't expect to open. They didn't discuss it with me. Just said, "You're opening." So I opened.

I think 50-over cricket was introduced because it was going to be exciting. Now it's exciting for the first ten overs and the last ten. The middle stuff is as boring as bat shit.

There was a lot of pressure on the guys in World Series and the guys outside. Between the World Series guys and the organising state associations. A lot of animosity. And no matter what they say, there was.

Against West Indies, if Roberts or [Michael] Holding didn't get you, there was Colin Croft and Joel Garner. Garner made a huge difference. He was a bit like Thommo, made it fly from nowhere. He had a great yorker. Then Wayne Daniel, and after that, Malcolm Marshall. It was just relentless.

I learnt very quickly [on debut] that the captain's position is at the other end when the second new ball comes on. Let's throw the young bloke in. But it worked out okay. And who was I to doubt Greg's method of batting? By lunch the next day, I was 99 not out. Only the second player ever to be 99 not out at a break, on debut. The first was Alan Kippax and he got out for 99 first ball after lunch. I was told this later. First ball after lunch, Andy Roberts came back on. I played and missed outside off stump. Next ball I hit for four.

I played my first Shield game as a 16-year-old for Victoria. I was 12th man.

We were washed out for six weeks at the start of the 1977 England tour. We probably played once or twice in the first six weeks we were there. Things were okay in the team, at first, and then, of course the Packer thing happened. Once that broke, it kind of broke the team. Despite all the best intentions of everybody, I don't think anybody who was on the tour would say that we were a united team once that started to evolve.

I love our Big Bash. I think it's so good for cricket. If you can get 40,000 people to the Adelaide Oval for a cricket match, then something has got to be right.

I played the worst cricket I ever played at the Centenary Test. I'd been at the MCG as a Test batsman twice before and scored hundreds both times.

I didn't get picked for the Australian team to go to India in 1979-80, but I think I was really close. I'd been bowling offspin all year to try and get on that tour.

With the coming together of World Series Cricket a year earlier than we expected, I realised that life in Queensland was not going to be as pleasant as it had been before.

When the ball was swinging, I bowled okay.

"I fielded short leg, and the two hardest blokes I've ever had to judge were Viv Richards and Greg Chappell, because they both played the ball so very late"

Ian Chappell was the outstanding captain. Greg was the outstanding player. Probably the best player I've ever seen. Even better than Viv Richards.

The boys [on the 1977 Ashes tour] didn't know whether they were expected to play for Australia when they got back, plus a few games for Packer. Then they couldn't and there were lawyers everywhere. It was just really difficult.

The India opening bowlers [in 1977-78] weren't any better than any Australian district attack and probably weren't the standard of a lot of district attacks. Then the spinners came on, early of course, and it was game on.

If you weren't playing for Australia by the time you were 29 or 30, the state selectors were looking for someone to take your place.

I got five wickets in a one dayer against England in 1977 and then got dropped for the next game. They brought back Jeff Thomson, which was fair enough.

I stood at slip for five years to Hoggy at Northcote and he bowled as fast as anybody did, probably except for Thommo and Holding. He was able to put the wind up the opposition when he wanted to turn up.

There was some residual stuff for me from the World Series days. I didn't enjoy it and I thought, right, that's it. I'm going back home, to Victoria. As soon as it started to come back on me personally, then rightly or wrongly, I said, "Bugger it."

T20 has reinvigorated 50-over cricket a little bit. Teams are scoring more runs because of how they play T20.

England had a pretty good side in 1977. Brilliant captain in Mike Brearley, who was great for England cricket. The bowlers swung the ball, very good attack. They also had probably the best slips-catching cordon that I'd ever seen. They were fantastic. And they were all bowlers: [Tony Greig] Greigy, [Ian] Botham, [Mike] Hendrick, [Chris] Old, [Bob] Willis had a go.

Back in district cricket, I opened the bowling, used to bowl quite well in Shield cricket. But once it got to international level, the guys who were skilled in that area did most of the work.

It was obvious that Viv Richards was going to be a really good batsman, even back in 1975-76. And he was out of this world as fieldsman as well, of course. He had that swagger back then too. Viv was the man before he was the man.

Without the Packer players, when Australia played Test cricket, there was no sequence to our play, no experience, nothing to fall back on. We just hoped it wasn't going to be too bad, next time. That's kind of the rut you get into. I'm sure England went through that a lot, for about 20 years.

Test match cricket is okay today. The batsmen have it a little easier than when I played. One bouncer an over, or whatever it is. The wickets are flatter. The performance of batsmen is improving. The runs they're scoring is racking up and up.

*02:40:44 GMT, July 4, 2016: The article originally said "open in India", which has been corrected