Surrey in state of shock after death of batsman
THE Oval is in mourning this week, following the death of Tom Maynard, a 23-year-old batsman who seemed destined to follow in his father's footsteps and play for England.
Like his career at Surrey, Tom's life was tragically short. However, in just 18 months, Maynard had become a key member of a reconstructed side, a Surrey side that was beginning to emerge from the shadows of the team, under Adam Hollioake, that had so dominated county cricket a decade earlier.
Tom Maynard might only have scored 1,657 first-runs runs, including four centuries for the Oval outfit, but he averaged 42.48 - significantly above par for a player of his age - and had taken a number of outstanding catches in the slips cordon.
Maynard also punched above his weight in the shorter forms of the game. With batting averages almost touching 40 for Surrey in both one-day and T20 cricket, his was one of the brightest talents on the county circuit.
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His call-up for the England Lions tour to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka earlier this year was testament that the England management had started to sit up and take notice.
It is often easy to overplay the talents of one lost so prematurely, but not in Tom's case. It wasn't a question of whether he would play for England, it was simply a case of how many times he would step on to the international stage.
Had circumstances been different, Maynard might never have become a Surrey player.
Glamorgan was in his blood. His father, Matthew had both captained and managed the Welsh outfit. When they won the County Championship in 1997, an eight-year-old Tom snuck into the victorious team photograph, taken on the outfield at Taunton, the day the title was secured.
Ten years later, at the age of 18, Maynard made the first of 94 appearances for Glamorgan, repaying the faith shown in him immediately by hitting 71 off 75 balls in a one-dayer against Gloucestershire.
Surrey had been on the wrong end a number of times when he made hay with the bat, but the final straw, so to speak, came in July 2010 when Tom hit an unbeaten 78 off 43 balls, including five sixes, to turn a T20 clash at the Oval on its head.
Five months later, Maynard asked to be released from his Glamorgan contract, citing the club's treatment of his father, whose position as director of cricket had been rendered untenable.
At the time, Tom was quoted as saying: "I have my Glamorgan number tattooed on me. That is how much it means to me. I only ever thought I would want to play for Glamorgan, but I no longer feel I can stay at Glamorgan while the current people are in charge."
When Tom was given clearance to talk to other counties, his first thought was Surrey, where one of his best friends, Millfield schoolmate Rory Hamilton-Brown, was captain.
Maynard said: "I got on the phone to Rory and I asked if Surrey would be interested. He was very keen to have me, which was fantastic."
At the club's press day in April 2011, Tom was certain he had made the right move. He said: "You just get a massive boost when you come to the Oval every day. It's a bit indescribable. Everything about the place is special."
Maynard already had a brace of one-day hundreds on his CV, but a first-class century had eluded him. He said: "Both of my hundreds have been in a losing cause, so it would be nice at some stage to get a hundred and win the game."
Tom finally got his wish at the end of the season when his third first-class hundred, an inspired 123 against Derbyshire on a turning pitch, set-up the victory Surrey needed to win promotion back to Division One in the County Championship.
Tom Maynard's innings is over, his bat is laid down, but perhaps it is fitting that the records will forever state that he played the same number of first-class games, 24, during his spells at Surrey and Glamorgan.