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MAYNARD, THOMAS LLOYD, died after being electrocuted on a railway line on June 18, aged 23. During the weekend before his death, Tom Maynard was a cheerful presence on television screens, as a guest on Sky's knockabout Saturday show Cricket AM and as part of Finishing School, a documentary about the England Performance Programme's winter training. There had been a chance to glimpse him in the flesh, too, in Surrey's Sunday afternoon Twenty20 match against Kent at Beckenham. Then, shortly after breakfast time on Monday, came the news that his body had been found on the tracks near Wimbledon Park tube station in south London. Not since the death in 2002 of Ben Hollioake - also of Surrey, also youthful, good-looking and precocious - had English cricket been so numbed by tragedy.
Five weeks earlier, against Worcestershire at New Road, Maynard's talent had been thrillingly laid bare. With Surrey following on, he made a career-best 143, moving to three figures with a six. The watching Kevin Pietersen called Andy Flower that evening to offer an enthusiastic endorsement. Not that this surprised Graham Thorpe, his EPP batting coach: "Tom scored runs when his team needed them, which is crucial for a player who has potential to get to the top."
The innings also underlined a new cricketing maturity acquired in his second season at The Oval. "He had moved to another level," said Dean Conway, the former Glamorgan and England physio who had known him all his life. "Before joining Surrey he had the talent but not the stats." At his funeral, at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, Hugh Morris - the former Glamorgan opening batsman now managing director of England cricket - said Maynard had first toddled into the dressing-room at Sophia Gardens with his father Matthew at the age of two. Thereafter, he was seldom out of it. Conway remembered: "He became like one of the team. We called him 'Bruiser'. Even then, he had massive arms and legs."
Maynard attended Whitchurch High School, a sporting hothouse that also nurtured the talents of Sam Warburton, a future Wales rugby captain, and the Tottenham Hotspur footballer Gareth Bale. From there he went to Millfield where, in his mid-teens, rugby briefly threatened to become his main sport. In June 2007, aged 18, he made a dazzling first senior appearance for Glamorgan, scoring 71 from 75 deliveries against Gloucestershire in the Friends Provident Trophy. At first, his one-day returns were always more eye-catching: in August 2009 came a 57-ball century - one fewer than his father's one-day quickest - against Northamptonshire. But the summer of 2010 ended traumatically, when Glamorgan missed promotion in the Championship on the final day, and Matthew Maynard lost his job as director of cricket. Shocked by the treatment meted out to his father, Tom relocated to Surrey, joining his old Millfield friend Rory Hamilton-Brown. He was energised by the change, and in 2011 played a full part in their promotion in the County Championship and CB40 triumph. There were 1,022 Championship runs at nearly 41, including a seemingly preordained hundred against Glamorgan at Cardiff. His form earned him selection for the EPP in 2011-12, when he impressed Thorpe on a trip to India. "He came across as a caring and kind young man," he said. "I thought he learned a lot from that time away in Asia, and on his return to England he really did look the standout batsman at Surrey."
Matthew Maynard's abundant talent was never successfully transferred to the international stage, but many believed his son had the temperament and ability to prosper there. Morris called him "a player who was surely destined for the highest reaches of the game, and whose authority and elegance at the crease reminded so many of his father".
Another speaker at Llandaff Cathedral was the Glamorgan captain Mark Wallace. "I will always remember him as the lad who could make me laugh more than anyone else I have ever met," he said. "I just wish he had never made me cry."