Meyer chose cricket over hockey for money

  • Nikhilesh Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Bangalore
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  • Updated: Sep 29, 2011 01:44 IST

Lyall Meyer’s friend has a theory —  if you slog at anything long enough, you will become good at it; however, the real talented ones are those who excel in two things or more.

By that logic, Meyer is talented, having played hockey for South Africa apart from forging a career in first-class cricket. Here with the Warriors for the Champions League T20, the modest South African did not mention himself when propounding his friend’s theory though.

“Look at someone like AB de Villiers: fantastic cricketer, he’s good at golf …I’m sure he would do well in whatever sport he plays,” says the 29-year-old pacer, who is yet to get a game in CLT20.

“I always loved hockey,” says the 6-foot-2 Meyer. His parents Amien and Rushaan both played the game, as did elder sister Kim, who made it to the South African women’s team.

The family lives in Port Elizabeth and Meyer made the Eastern Province hockey side from the time he was under-12. “I also made the South Africa under-16 right through to the senior side.”

Between 2005 and 2006, Meyer played 26 internationals as a striker. “I scored on my debut, but I’ll be lying if I say I remember how many international goals I scored in my career. Ten maybe, but I’m guessing.”

Opting for cricket

In school, Meyer played cricket for fun. However, when he needed to earn, he chose cricket.

“Hockey’s very amateur in South Africa, you basically pay to play. The choice was between an amateur sport and a professional sport.”

Meyer made his first-class debut for Eastern Province in 2001-02, having done well in club cricket with his raw pace. “I was young and wild and got a lot of wickets.”

Balancing act

Initially, he played both sports. “I managed quite easily because hockey’s played in the winter and cricket in the summer,” says Meyer. He finally gave up hockey because he did not want people to think he was not serious enough about cricket.

However, hockey helped Meyer improve his cricket skills. “Hockey made me lift my fitness standards,” says Meyers.


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