We spoke to New Zealand tearaway Lockie Ferguson for Downtime Diaries, in which cricketers tell us how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their lives and routines.

You were just working your way back from a calf injury. How have you managed to keep yourself fit?
I live with two cricketers - Ben Horne [Auckland wicketkeeper] and Henry Cooper [Northern Districts batsman] - and so we're a pretty athletic house. Ben and I have been running every week, Monday to Friday. And we had done the same thing Jimmy Neesham did, we borrowed some gear from Eden Park, so we're trying to stay fit and healthy.

I'm doing a lot more meditation, which is really good and I've really enjoyed it. Because we have a routine now from Monday to Friday, the time has actually gone quickly for me.

Was meditation something you took to during this lockdown or were you into it before?
I've sort of really been interested to create a routine where meditation is part of my plans. But it can be difficult from time to time when you're travelling around - you sometimes forget to do it. I certainly believe that it's very healthy for people and I feel a lot better after it. It's a chance to take control of your brain. Sometimes I think we all fall into the trap of our thoughts running wild, but it's nice to take some time out for yourself and slow those thoughts down and just centre yourself a little bit instead of worrying too much about the future or the past.

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You're somebody who is used to bowling at speeds above 140kph. How challenging will it be for your body to deal with the stress of that after this downtime?
The key to any sport, especially bowling in cricket, where there is high stress, is that you need to train your body to be used to that exercise over a period of time, and give it a chance to learn to do it again [after a lull], and build up the volume of doing it. If you start out slowly and give yourself more time, it's amazing what your body can adjust to.

Fortunately, here in New Zealand we're settling back to normal - doing our strength and conditioning. We'll be doing it for the next month or so and then I'll slowly start to get back to bowling, and hopefully, come September, there might be cricket, with rumours floating there might be an IPL. I'm working towards that and very much looking forward to the training.

Cooper turned 27 last week and your birthday is coming up as well. Did you guys celebrate last week?
There are celebrations for sure! Coops has had a great year and plenty to celebrate. This will be the last year of my 20s, so I'll have a gathering at our place. Just the normal catch-ups, not thinking of anything out of the ordinary. I'm happy to be at home for my birthday for once. My parents are currently staying in Greytown, and I'll head there, and they'll then be coming in a couple of weeks, so it's great to have family and friends around.

We saw Cooper feed you short balls with a racquet in a TikTok video. How's your batting coming along?
It was a little promotion for Kookabura for what you could do at home during a lockdown. In the nature of our flat, we kind of wanted to take the piss a little bit and have some fun. We turned it into a few TikToks, but that's as far as my TikTok career will go.

So you're not going to be the next David Warner, then?
Oh my god! That guy's everywhere. He's been providing a lot of entertainment for cricket fans.

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Which show have you been binge-watching?
The Last Dance on Netflix is well documented and it's a fantastic series. When I was young, [Michael] Jordan was sort of finishing his career. The world knows the kind of effect he had on people. It's quite cool to see what goes on behind the scenes and know that it's not all roses for professional athletes. It's great to learn from the best basketball player and the journey he had and why the Bulls were so successful, with the likes of Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen.

Have you had more cheat days during the lockdown?
During this lockdown, every Saturday was Cake Saturday, which was fantastic (laughs). Ben Horne is quite the pancake maker and he has plenty of tricks flipping them.

You were part of the Sydney ODI that was played closed behind doors. This might be the new normal for cricket going forward…
It was an interesting experience. We were unsure whether we might play or not. It took a lot of energy out of the series, obviously, and a lot of other sporting events were being closed down too. Playing the game was certainly interesting. I know there are a couple of memes going around of me fetching the ball from the empty stands.

You can't put it into words, how much fun it is [playing in front of crowds]. Just as the fans love it, the players love it as well - the energy. Obviously, health is priority now and we should all do the right thing.

Cricket aside, what are you looking forward to once normalcy is restored?
Well, I think for New Zealand we're getting back to normal, which is nice. As a cricketer on tour, you tend to overlook spending time with family. It's been nice to spend time with my parents and my grandmother. I played a bit of golf with my mum and dad. My mum started learning this year, but she absolutely smote me and my dad.

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