Matthew Maynard will take charge of the Titans for the last time in the domestic Twenty20 final at the Wanderers on Sunday. He has decided not to renew his contract with the franchise and will return to the UK at the end of the season to take some time off and concentrate on running the Tom Maynard Trust, a foundation set up for his late son. The Titans are hopeful he will return to them in the future.
Maynard was involved with the franchise for two seasons but his tenure was underlined by tragedy. After his first summer, in which the Titans won the first-class competition and the T20 title, his son Tom died after running onto the tracks in a tube station. From that moment, it was uncertain whether Maynard would return.
He did, but it was with a heavy heart. The Titans, who lost their CEO Elise Lombard to a heart attack as well, slumped to last in defence of the first-class trophy, without registering a win in the competition. They fared better in the fifty-overs format, where they lost the playoff of the one-day cup. Their best performance has come in T20s, where they have qualified for a second, successive Champions League, and will contest the final against Lions. A source close to Maynard said he only felt he was coaching properly in the last three weeks.
Despite that, he has been credited with having a major impact on many of the players. Faf du Plessis said Maynard had helped him develop his temperament in the longer format, Farhaan Behardien and Henry Davids earned national call-ups, with the latter also succeeding in a leadership role.
Davids took over captaincy of the Titans in Maynard's second year and said the coach was "right up there with the best I have ever worked with." He thanked Maynard at the Titans' awards dinner on Friday night and added the coach would be "welcomed back any time." Davids hopes that after some time away from the game, Maynard will go back to SuperSport Park.
Vincent Sinovich, the chairman of the Titans, echoed that sentiment. "It is a big loss for the franchise. Matthew has provided great leadership to all the players within our structure. I truly appreciate the loyalty and dedication he has demonstrated throughout his time with the franchise. There has been uncertainty for a while if Matthew would continue, but we had always hoped that we could convince him to stay," he said.
Maynard gave no indication of whether he is considering a future in cricket. "I leave for personal reasons. I want to thank everyone involved for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful team and family," Maynard said. "I will always be part of the Northerns' family."
He told Davids he believes the batsman is "the right man" to lead the franchise and the rest of the team that they are a "very special squad". He handed out the award at the dinner, which included giving Roelof van der Merwe both the player of the year and the players' player of the year awards. Davids was awarded one-day cricketer of the year.
The Titans have not set a time-frame for naming Maynard's replacement but will now have to look for a third coach in four seasons.