County news April 3, 2013

Hamilton-Brown back at 'caring' Hove

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rory Hamilton-Brown is hoping a more caring environment at Hove can help him begin a new phase of his career on Wednesday when he is expected to return to Sussex colours in their opening match of the new season at Headingley.

Hamilton-Brown, 25, has said he needed to leave The Oval, where he had been club captain, after a desperately difficult year in which his team-mate and best friend Tom Maynard was killed. He was one of the last people to see Maynard alive and gave evidence at his inquest in February.

"I needed to play in a place where I felt like people cared about you and they wanted you around," he told the Press Association. "Ultimately I think that kind of care and love when you go through tough times brings the best out of you. It's easy when you go through a time like that to feel quite isolated and alone."

Having began his career with three years at Sussex, Hamilton-Brown will hope to again display the talent that saw him taken to Surrey by Chris Adams and made the youngest captain in the country, trying to put the tragic events of last year behind him.

He attempted a return to the Surrey first XI in August, something he now realises was a mistake. "I was disappointed to be brought back and dropped and brought back and left out, but ultimately I should never have played in the first place," he said. "Mentally I had a lot going on and I was not able to get myself in the place I was before the tragic incident. There was no way I should have been on a cricket field, but I wanted to try it and see what I could do."

Hamilton-Brown averaged 46.55 in first-class cricket with two centuries in seven matches during his first stint at Sussex and hopes the memory of Maynard will inspire him to fulfil his potential. "Undoubtedly a little part of me wants to think that I'm carrying him with me," he said. "And that's going to give you a deeper, harder drive than I've had before.

"I've been on a road of discovery, which has been brilliant in some ways, but I'm really looking forward to being back on the pitch. It's not going to be something you're going to get over overnight - it's not something you ever get over - but for me it was imperative that I went away and had a look at myself, what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and the rest of my career."

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  • Adam on April 4, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    Some very sensible comments already made. He was granted compassionate leave, dropped the captaincy and, by his own admission, said he wanted to have a go playing again so seems harsh to insinuate that Surrey were uncaring.

    Worth noting other Surrey players have not felt the need to move on nor have been released as a result of the awful incident.

  • Bob on April 4, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    I wish him all the best at Sussex. Hope things go well on and off the field.

  • ian on April 4, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    After the tragic death of Maynard that derailed Surrey's season early last summer, everyone (Adams & Hamilton-Brown pre-eminently, but everyone at or connected with the county & Tom) was in his or her own private nightmare. Under the circumstances it's understandable that Adams wanted H-B to play before he (H-B) was ready, believing, perhaps, that playing would help his young capt with the healing process, when the reality was that the grieving was no where near done. In retrospect, Adams' judgement was faulty, but no one, not even H-B himself, should point the finger at him; H-B himself didn't know his own mind at the time. As is reported here, he 'wanted to try it [playing again in Aug] & see what I could do.' In other words, as H-B didn't know whether he was ready to play, Adams couldn't know that either. I'm sure that at the time both had agreed that it was worth attempting. H-B had to move on. I wish him & Surrey CCC well & esp. a new & kind understanding of the other's position.

  • stuart on April 3, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    While it must have been harrowing to go through what he does as Club Captain he did set the environment for the Oval to a degree. I can understand why he would want to leave the Oval but to say Hove is more Caring then does that not say something about his identity.There was seemingly something gone awry at the Oval and it is sad what has happened to all those involved.