Former one-time Australian One-Day International (ODI) captain Ray Bright returned to Swan Hill last week to coach some of our young cricketers.
Featuring in 25 tests and 11 ODI's for Australia, Bright, 63, has become in integral part of the Shaun Brown's Cricket Coaching camps since the organisation became a full-time business in 1991.
The left-arm spinner's passion to better the growth of cricket still courses through his veins. "I've been involved from day one with Shaun, so it's always good to get up to this part of the world.
Many, many times I've come up here and also for Cricket Victoria — I was here for the Murray Bulls way back in August as well.
So this has been a regular ground for me to do some coaching at," Bright said.
"When I was starting out in the world of cricket, there was very little coaching that went on, so if I can sort of help out the young kids with a little bit of information that I've learnt over the journey, probably more since I've returned then when I played. It gives me a great kick and to see kids so enthusiastic as well."
The two-day camp, which occurred last Thursday and Friday at the Swan Hill Showgrounds, provided youngsters the chance to learn all the aspects of the game by some former international players.
Bright, along with former West Indian left-arm paceman Kenroy Peters and expert coaches from Melbourne, travelled to the Heart of the Murray to give tips and conduct video analysis of bowling and batting techniques.
The changing landscape of cricket has seen a stunning rise of Twenty20 competitions around the world with Bright believing it has broadened the avenues for more people to become involved in the game.
"Starting as an eight-year-old, there used to be only Under-16 level cricket, so the game has come a long way with T20 Blast and Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 competitions and with girls cricket as well of course, so it's certainly grown," he said.
"When I played, there was one form of the game, now there is three and it gives a great opportunity for so many people to get a game of cricket somewhere."
In 1986, captain Allan Border's absence led to vice-captain Bright's debut leading the side, where they competed in the first ever AustralAsia Cup.
They may have been eliminated by Pakistan following an eight wicket defeat in their first match, but Bright said the memory of captaining his country remained vivid.
"It was unbelievable. They were a fantastic, young bunch of blokes in 86. Then, of course, that bunch of blokes went on to form the nucleus of the World Cup side that won the following year in India in 87, so that was a big kick to see all those blokes do well the following year," he said.
As for the current Australia side, Bright feels they had an easy passage to reclaiming the Ashes.
"We've played very well, there is no doubting that, but I don't think the opposition has been at its best this series, but you can only beat who you are up against and we certainly beat them pretty comprehensively, 4-0," he said.
"Our bowlers were outstanding and, of course, Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh, in particular, have really dominated the English bowlers, so they've had very few consistent contributors throughout the series, so we have had the far better team all round."
Having played alongside many great players, Bright believes the current Australian captain has earned the right for his name to be uttered along the greats.
"Steve Smith's record speaks for itself, I was lucky enough to play with Ian and Greg Chappell, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, these sort of players, but he (Smith) is certainly up there with them, and his statistics suggest that," he said.
"One of the things he has done very well is he's made runs in all different countries and all different conditions, and that's a great testament to how great a player he is."
The former orthodox spinner said developing greater depth in the country’s spin bowling department was pivotal, despite the success of record-breaker Nathan Lyon, touting Adam Zampa as a possible future Test player.
"We're going alright at the moment. Nathan did very well, he's going to struggle a little bit more against South Africa probably because they have a lot more right handers in their top-order," he said.
“He (Zampa) is more of a shortform bowler, he always bowls well in white ball cricket, steady, he keeps his nerve very well. He doesn’t turn it a lot, but he has got great control.”