Cameron Merchant walked into the Graham Reserve nets earlier this month with retirement on the table of options. At 37 and with 17 seasons behind him, the Manly-Warringah Cricket Club veteran understands he is closer to the end than the start.
"I went to the nets thinking two things will happen here. Either I can't hit the ball and it's over and done with or I'm just not enjoying it," Merchant told Inside Back.
"Thankfully neither happened. I hit the ball beautifully and had a lot of fun. People ask me how long I will keep going but I don't even know. I'm such a cricket nuffie and I'm still trying new things to get better. As long as the body holds up and I'm enjoying it and contributing, I will keep going."
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Merchant will step down from T20 cricket but is available for all other formats despite a busy work and family life with wife and fellow Married at First Sight star Jules Robinson and their one-year-old son Ollie. He has also joined new head coach Roy Vumbaca's staff as a batting mentor to the club's younger players, already earning rave reviews from those working under him.
Merchant admits cricket would be a memory if not for Jules' support. He said: "We're a team and we work together and she knows how much cricket still means to me. We have a wonderful balance."
Merchant is one ton away from joining Adam Crosthwaite and Terry Lee (15 each) on the club's list of all-time century-makers. Manly's NSW Premier Cricket campaign starts on November 6.
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