“My favourite place in Cape Town is my bed” says Richard Levi
This article has been written by independent blogger Tessa James
I recently met up with South African International cricketer, Richard Levi who has just begun his third season playing county cricket for Northamptonshire. At 29 years old Richard can look back on a stellar cricketing career with many highlights including scoring a century for South Africa and playing for leading club teams including Western Provence, Cape Cobras, Mumbai Indians and Northamptonshire. Levi has suffered several career changing injuries and started using TEMPUR in South Africa to help him continue play and when he arrived in the UK to play he contacted TEMPUR to make sure he could buy the products he says are a vital to him whilst playing professional cricket. I took to the cricket ground to find out more.
Levi has one story that his dad tells of how he got into cricket. “I think I was like three or four and he was watching cricket on television. I turned round and pointed at the TV and asked what it was and he said “cricket”. He asked me if I would I like to try it, and from there the rest is history.”
Being from a family where his father was in the army, looking back Levi thinks this helped with him forge a professional cricket career as it relieved the “peer pressure” from his parents to do well. Growing up, amongst many other cricketers, Gary Kirsten inspired him to work unbelievably hard and to get where he is today. Eric Cantona was also an influence in a different way for him from an early age. “The first game of English football I watched, he fly kicked someone in the crowd” he laughed “I’m not sure how old I was but since then I’ve supported Man United. He was a brilliant player and also a real big character which I liked”.
Although his international career was shorter than he had hoped due to back injuries, Levi classes this as the main highlight of his cricket so far. “To play for my country and score a century in my second T20 innings was amazing. I also love the time off the field, enjoying time with your mates after a game”. Besides spending the English summer with Northamptonshire, his favourite place to play is Cape Town. “I know I’m a bit biased because it’s where I grew up but the crowds are amazing, you’ve got Table Mountain in the background, it’s picturesque and the camaraderie is phenomenal”. Despite this he still says ”I love coming to play in England, there’s always a challenge from the wickets to the weather. South Africa will always be home though.”
When asking him what his favourite part of Cape Town is he replied “I want to say my bed but I can’t really” he laughed. “You have to go along the Garden Route and stop in George, it’s beautiful.” Part of being an international cricketer is travel and Levi has played around the world. “The biggest eye opener is India, with the extremes of 5 star hotels to guys with nothing, all on one road. It’s definitely the most extreme place I have visited.”
So Levi has enjoyed a fantastic career and the privilege of being a professional sportsperson but injury has never been far away and has held back in career. At the age of 17 he severely injured the disks in his back and then again at the age of 22 he prolapsed his disks. “They were tough times and amongst other things it really made me think about the way I sleep. My team mates said TEMPUR was the only way to go so I tried it out in a store. I can’t go anywhere without my TEMPUR pillow now”. I asked him how he takes TEMPUR on tour with him. “I wish I could take my whole mattress” he laughs.
One main advantage TEMPUR has given Levi is the recovery after his catastrophic back injuries. “I can go to sleep and wake up in the same position and that is beautiful. I wake up better, I recover better and sleep better.” After suffering back injuries so severe that they had to be operated on, Levi swears by TEMPUR to release pressure from his back and help him to get the best night’s sleep. “It is almost a decompression and relieves all the pressure.” Levi explains; “To have a mattress that allows me to carry on playing is a massive benefit. A guy that weighs 100kgs with prolapsed disks should not be moving around and TEMPUR allows me to do this.” Currently, Levi’s training mainly consists of technical work, cardio, strength and conditioning. “For me our coaches would rather I sleep and work on flexibility than pick up half the gym” he comments.
“I now have a TEMPUR mattress in my house in England and I’m looking forward to a good season. My South African team mates got me using TEMPUR and I’m now getting my Northamptonshire team mates into it”. “TEMPUR has definitely helped my career and will do for the years to come wherever they take me.”
Richard Levi is one of many professional athletes that supports TEMPUR through our ‘This Sleep Is Power’ campaign.