English cricket mourns one of its brightest prospects
On a day that fell in the midst of a major international football tournament, followed the end of a major international golf tournament, and a controversial tennis final, the sporting world could have been forgiven for not paying significant attention to the English cricket season.
The height of the 2012 sporting calendar was put into perspective, however, with the tragic news that 23 year-old Surrey batsman Tom Maynard had been found dead in the early hours of Monday morning. When the name of a sportsman is trending on Twitter outside of a match, it is never usually a good sign and so it proved on Monday, as the news spread quickly.
The son of former England player and assistant coach Matthew Maynard, he was considered a prodigious talent with the bat, hitting 4 first-class centuries, including a 143 at the beginning of last month. Having played over the weekend for his county Surrey, and having appeared on Cricket AM on Saturday morning, news of his death has shocked the cricketing world. A powerful striker of the ball and a dominant part of Surrey’s middle order, his untimely passing marks the loss of one of the brightest young talents in English cricket. Having toured the subcontinent with the England Lions over the winter, Maynard was considered an excellent prospect, and a future England player.
Over this tragedy in the cricketing world looms the memory of a similarly tragic death. The loss of the young talented cricketer will conjure painful memories for those who remember the untimely death of the young and promising English cricketer Ben Hollioake in 2002. Hollioake was killed in a car crash at the age of 24, having already featured for the England one-day side and, like Maynard, was tipped as one for the future. Tragic stories such as these put sport into perspective and show that as much as Maynard, like Hollioake, was incredibly talented, he was first and foremost a young man of just 23 years of age, who leaves behind his parents and girlfriend, and had so much of his life in front of him.
Yet if any kind of positive can be sought in such a terrible event, the tributes pouring in from all areas of the cricketing world, including the current England team members, show just how well respected Tom Maynard was. The flags at the Oval, the venue for Tuesday’s ODI against the West Indies, and, poignantly, the ground where Tom Maynard played the vast majority of his cricket, will fly at half-mast in what will be a very sombre atmosphere for an international game.
If anything can be taken from the tragic loss of Ben Hollioake ten years ago, it is proof that the cricketing world will never forget Tom Maynard and what a talented young cricketer he was.