STUART MEAKER should get on like a house on fire with his new Sussex team-mates.

After all, he did used to live with a couple of them.

Meaker, 30, joined Sussex from Surrey yesterday on a two-year deal and is eager to get back to playing regular cricket after a frustrating lack of action at The Oval over the past couple of seasons.

Although it is a big upheaval leaving a club he joined when he was 13, there will be a few familiar faces to ease the transition for the fast bowler.

Meaker told The Argus: “Chris Jordan and Laurie Evans are ex-Surrey boys, and I actually lived with both of them at various stages. Ex-housemates follow each other around.

“I played with (Luke) Wright a little bit in 2012 with England and I have played Lions stuff with Danny Briggs.”

Meaker admits the switch to Hove could in fact have had happened a long time ago if Sussex skipper Ben Brown had got his way.

He revealed: “I played a lot of youth cricket with Ben Brown and he tried to nab me originally for Sussex when I was 18 before I had signed for Surrey.

“I have joked with him that it took a bit longer than he expected but I’ve finally decided to come.”

Meaker, who played four white-ball internationals for England in 2011 and 2012, says the move to Hove feels like the right ‘fit’ after he decided he needed a change after 17 years at Surrey.

He had a year left on his contract at Surrey but director of cricket Alec Stewart agreed to let him move to Hove in order to pursue first-team opportunities.

Meaker: “It’s been interesting.

“I mentioned it to Alec Stewart halfway through last season that I wondered if I’d end up being in the same position next year.

“I didn’t know at the time that Surrey would make a few signings.

“I had a lot of change going on so I didn’t know if it would be good come the end of the season to think about a move.

“After the end of the season and the October break, I thought about it more and decided a change would be good.

“I have loved playing cricket ever since I was six years old and joined Surrey when I was 13 years old and have loved playing there.

“My playing opportunities have been limited over the past couple of seasons and I play cricket to play it, not to sit and watch from the sidelines.

“It came about quite suddenly and Sussex came in, seemed quite keen, and I felt it would be a good fit.”

He added: “They were keen to add a bit of experience to some of the younger players and me to get back to taking some poles!

“It’s nice that it is close, it is down by the sea and I know a few of the boys as well.

“I think it will work quite well.”

Meaker hopes he can help Sussex achieve success across all formats.

He said: “I have never boxed myself in as being a certain type of cricketer.

“Ironically I have had more success in red-ball format in terms of wickets and achievements but I have played white-ball cricket for England and not Test cricket.

“I can play all forms and pace is pace at the end of the day.

“Obviously, selfishly I want to get back to playing more, enjoying the game and taking loads of wickets but I wouldn’t say that’s my main aim at all.

“I am at a later stage of my career where I have got the benefit of more experience and there are good young bowlers here like George Garton and Ollie Robinson coming through and I would hope I could add a little bit of my experience to their future journey.

“I just want to be part of a team that has success on the pitch and goals moving forward.

“Sussex has always been a family friendly club with a close-knit group of players, with a strong work ethic but I feel they have their sights now on achieving success in all formats over the next couple of seasons.

“It would be great to be a part of that and of that whole journey.”

And he reckons the pace that once saw him considered the fastest bowler in the country after being clocked at 95mph in ECB trials at Loughborough is still there but is now better managed.

He said: “I haven’t lost stupid amounts of pace and I probably still have spells in me that are up there, especially in the white-ball format or if I am bowling down a hill.

“Probably the consistency of the pace at times takes its toll, which is only natural with anyone’s age.

“But it is learning when to bowl those spells and when not.

“It’s about being a bit smarter about when tearing in and trying to knock everyone’s heads off.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve lost a heap of pace with the levels I can get to, it is just the consistency to which it happens.

“But that just takes discipline and fitness and that has always been something I have taken very seriously.”