Growing up in South Africa, I remember flicking on the TV and having my Dad turn to me and say if you want to be a cricketer, watch this guy play and model yourself on him.

That was Jacques Kallis.

Fast forward fifteen years, and there I was, sitting next to him in the Sydney Thunder change rooms. I could barely string together the words to answer when he said, “Hi I’m Jacques nice to meet you”. I wanted to say “I know exactly who you are! I’ve been idolising you for years and I have so many questions I want to ask you”.

Instead I muffled out shyly “Hi I’m Chris nice to meet you also”. There I was, just thinking “what am I doing here?”

Having moments like these have been really special. That’s been one of the biggest benefits from the Big Bash for me.

It has allowed me to set up friendships and close relationships with some of my childhood heroes – not just Jacques but also Mike Hussey and Shane Watson.

I’ve been able to sit down and get to know them, and them get to know me, hearing stories and experiences from the extensive careers they’ve had and what they have learnt along the way.

While, at the same time, asking just what it took for them to become successful in cricket, and discovering how I can take away some of their learnings and apply them to my own game.

For me, it’s been a way to help fast-track my development – why learn from just my own mistakes and experiences, when I can learn from the experiences that some of the best cricketers have had.

Mike Hussey has become someone I regularly turn too. He has become so much more that just my mentor – we regularly chat about all walks of life, and he has been incredibly giving of his time to me.

I’m thankful that he has taken such an interest in my career – it’s not everyday a cricketer can say they have “Mr. Cricket” in their corner.

As an extension of our relationship in the team, Shane Watson is another who has had an enormous impact upon my career.

Every cricket fan knows that Shane is one of the greatest all-rounders our country has produced, but it is what he does behind-the-scenes that makes him such a tremendous role model in my eyes.

He is always working with one of the Thunder players, with the sole focus on trying to make them the best they can be.

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 08: Chris Green of the Thunder shields his eyes from the sun as he fields during the Big Bash League match between the Hobart Hurricanes and the Sydney Thunder at Blundstone Arena on January 8, 2017 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
HOBART, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 08: Chris Green of the Thunder shields his eyes from the sun as he fields during the Big Bash League match between the Hobart Hurricanes and the Sydney Thunder at Blundstone Arena on January 8, 2017 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Shane is always giving of his time, and I know that it isn’t lost on any of the boys in the change rooms.

It’s what I love most about these T20 competitions – international players, who you would never get an opportunity to play with, you are suddenly paired with as teammates.

You can have an 18-year-old Jason Sangha, batting out in the middle with the England Test Captain Joe Root – it’s just brilliant!

It grants us, as an emerging group of young cricketers, the opportunity to share a coffee or breakfast with some of the greatest cricketers in the world.

At times, I’m just sitting there learning, listening, and pinching myself of the fortunate position I find myself in, playing the sport I love, surrounded by some really really good people almost wanting to get my notebook out so I don’t miss anything.