I've lost nine kilos from not eating - Meth
Two days after Keegan Meth had four teeth knocked out in the fifth ODI against Bangladesh on August 21, he logged onto his Facebook account. He had 380 friend requests and they were all from Bangladeshis who were concerned after Nasir Hossain had hit the last delivery of the innings straight back at Meth, who, in his follow through, copped it in the mouth.
"That ball could have gone anywhere on the field, but it picked my mouth," Meth told ESPNCricinfo during the second day of the lone Test between Zimbabwe and Pakistan in Bulawayo. "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, but it's part of the game and I just have to think of a way to get over it."
The 18 stitches Meth had on the inside of his mouth were removed on Friday, but it will still be weeks before he can have the necessary surgery to replace the teeth. "We have to wait for my lip to heal and then the implants can be put in," he said. "But I started training today - running and that sort of thing."
It may seem too soon for Meth to be back on the park, but he wants to move past the incident as soon as possible. He shows no hesitation when talking about it. He can recount most of it fluently and does not blame himself, or anyone else, for the accident. "I just didn't pick up where the ball went and then, at first, didn't know where it had hit me. But then, I looked down and saw blood, and I could hear someone saying, 'Here's one of his teeth'. The fourth umpire on the radio said I was bleeding on the pitch and had to get off."
Meth was taken to hospital, where he got stitches, and returned to the ground later that day although he did not bat. The teeth he lost were at the front of his mouth and it resulted in him not being able to eat for five days, surviving on liquids. "I've lost nine kilograms from not eating, so I have to work to get some of that back." He is now able to get solid food to the back of his mouth and chew from there.
It's a massive setback for a young man who was trying to cement a spot in the national team and Meth is down that he will play no part in the ongoing series against Pakistan. Elton Chigumbura's knee injury meant that the allrounder's spot was up for grabs in the Test, a role that Meth could have filled. "I'm very disappointed, especially because I missed out on the first Test and I thought I had done enough to play there," he said. "But I can't be too upset, this was a freak accident and I'm going to try and be ready for the New Zealand [Test] series in November."
Meth says he is "not too bothered" that he may always be known as the man who got hit in the mouth and is quite proud that the YouTube video of the incident has been viewed almost 180,000 times so far. "I actually want to say thank you to everyone who has sent me messages, there's been a lot of concern shown for me."
Queens Sports Club, Meth's home ground, has been a snakepit for the allrounder in recent times. Earlier this year, he had a head collision with Bradley Staddon in a Logan Cup match when both men were going for a high catch. Meth was concussed and out of the game for a week. "Yes," he said, "My home ground has been a bit of shocker."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent