Stuart Meaker says Ricky Ponting put all at ease at Surrey
Stuart Meaker told Cricket AM how Ricky Ponting quickly became "a mate" at Surrey.
Last Updated: 01/08/13 6:12pm
The legendary Australian skipper has been playing domestic cricket at The Oval this summer and signed off after Friday night's T20 clash against Kent.
Fast bowler Meaker admitted it could have been intimidating to have such a figure around the club, but said Ponting was quick to settle in and made a lot of friends during his time at Surrey.
Meaker said: "When you've got someone of his stature in your dressing room it's quite easy to get a little bit star-struck and look at the man for what he's done and what he's accomplished.
"But the sign of the great man is that he puts you at ease straight away and he's your mate, like he's always been there. He's very quick to come over and say hello and he's never hard to approach at all. You can always go and talk to him.
"To be fair, he's been in some sides that have absolutely whooped England in the past and it'd be easy to hate someone who has been a part of that side.
"But we gave him a little bit of a send-off last night because it was the last game he was going to play for us and he said 'don't be strangers, here's my number, here's my email address, if ever you guys are around in Australia come and say hello, it would be lovely to see you.'
"That shows how great a bloke he is."
Meaker said he learned plenty from the Australian batsman, even though injury prevented him from training with him too often, and he admitted there had been a lot of talk about the Ashes series - which England lead 2-0 - in the dressing room.
He added: "Normally we'd just be watching it on TV from a distance, but having Ricky there who has played a part in so many past Ashes series makes it quite nice to chuck a few jibes his way. He's been good about it and he's had a good laugh at the same time.
"I've only actually bowled at him once in the nets, but as you know, you can have as many imaginary fielders as you want. I think I had about three at square leg and one right on the pitch, so I reckon I would have done him a few times."
Meaker also spoke about his own international prospects and admitted his frustration that his hopes have been hampered by injury this season.
He was called up by Andy Flower for the tour of India this year and almost made the Test side when Stuart Broad was struggling for fitness and he vowed to carry on fighting for a place.
"Obviously I've slipped down the pecking order because I haven't been playing much," he said.
"But I know when I'm fit and firing, without bigging myself up too much, I'm quite a force to be reckoned with. I'm a confident guy and I think if I was back on the park I should be knocking on those doors.
"I've got the skills, I've got the pace certainly and I just need to make sure that I stay on the park, which is half the battle half the time as a fast bowler."