Mum's the word for Meaker
Stuart Meaker admits he was “ecstatic” to be called up for England’s tour of India - even if he did have to clear it with his mother and sister first.
The 22-year-old Surrey pace bowler was the most notable inclusion in a youthful 15-man squad announced by the ECB this afternoon.
His participation in England’s trip, which will see them play five one-day internationals and one Twenty20, may represent the high point of Meaker’s career, but it means he will miss the weddings of two family members.
“I had a missed call from (national selector) Geoff Miller and I was pacing around the flat for three hours waiting for him to call back,” Meaker told ecb.co.uk.
“I was ecstatic when I found out, but I was due to fly out to South Africa on Thursday for my mum’s wedding and my younger sister’s wedding.
“They were the first people I rang, to say something else has cropped up which is obviously quite important. They completely understood and wished me all the best.”
Meaker, who was born in Durban but has lived in England since the age of 12, progressed through the Surrey and England youth set-up to make his Lions debut this summer, winning many admirers for his considerable pace along the way.
However, he made perhaps his biggest impression on England team director Andy Flower last week when he was asked to bowl in the nets in the lead-up to the NatWest International T20s against West Indies.
“I was invited by (bowling coach) David Saker to come and have a bowl,” Meaker revealed. “I wasn’t prepared for it but as soon as he asked me I was dropping everything I was doing, that’s for sure.
“It was a good chance for me to show off what I’ve got. Luckily the Oval nets are quite spicy and I obviously did something right.
“David Saker saw something he liked and Andy Flower did as well, and hey presto. It just goes to show that if you get that little chance you never know what might happen.”
While Meaker has been on England’s radar for a while - he was clocked bowling at 92.7mph at the National Performance Centre in Loughborough when he was 18, a record no-one has bettered - he admits his senior call-up “came sooner than I thought”.
“I’ve been involved in the ECB set-up for a while and gone out on various skill-sets and tours and a scholarship last year,” he said.
“When I played for the Lions this summer I had (England) in my sights at some point in the near future. I just didn’t realise it was going to be as soon as this.”
Meaker’s birthplace may attract attention from some quarters of the media, but for him it is irrelevant.
“I was 12 when I emigrated with my mum and two sisters and I haven’t looked back since,” he stressed.
“I've played for Surrey since under-13s and I’ve done the majority of my cricket growing up in England. I’ve played all my senior cricket in England and I’ve learnt all my skills and everything I know about the game in England.
“It has been a dream to play for England. Hopefully I’ll realise that dream when I get out to India.”