Maynard death gave Surrey deep wound… but we'll make Tom proud, says Adams
14:21 GMT, 11 July 2012
Surrey team director Chris Adams has spoken of his pride at the way his side have come together in the aftermath of Tom Maynard's death and described the late batsman as the club's 'permanent 12th man'.
The highly-rated 23-year-old died last month after being hit by a London Underground train in the early hours of the morning, shocking the cricketing world.
Maynard was one of the most popular figures in a closely-knit Surrey dressing room and his two best friends, Brown Caps skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown and England seamer Jade Dernbach have taken time away from the game to grieve.
Tragedy: Tom Maynard died last month after being hit by a Tube train
But for Adams, the stark reality was that the county were in the middle of a packed Friends Life t20 schedule and would have to consider a return to action while the news was still raw.
As it was, they postponed just one game before taking on Essex only four days after Maynard's death.
Adams admits it was an emotionally draining experience but has been left in awe of his young side's strength and ability to return to their sport in Maynard's name.
'When something like this happens, there aren't really any books to help you. Every situation, every team, every player is unique in their own right,' he said.
'But the one constant that exists in our lives at the moment is cricket. In quite a brutal way, things don't stop… life goes on.
'The way everybody at this club has handled that has left me nothing short of proud.
'There is a deep wound in this side, we know that, and it will take time to mend. But these players will come through it stronger. The memories will stay but they will be tougher for this experience.
Shock: The talented batsman's death left his Surrey team-mates stunned
'Tom died on the Monday and by Thursday I had to get my head around the idea of the team playing cricket again the next day.
'You can't plan for that. You can't plan for the day you win the toss, choose to bat and have both opening batsmen breaking down in tears after a minute's silence.
'That is when you draw on your courage. To a man, every one of us was in tears and we were about to start a Twenty20 game. The essence of that moment told me how brave and courageous this team was.
'It makes them tighter as a unit and helps us all to realise how precious life is.'
Maynard was renowned as one of the brightest batting talents in the domestic game, and had already been selected for England Lions duty.
There seems to be little doubt that he would have gone on to follow his father Matthew in being selected for full international honours, but Adams believes his influence on Surrey's future goes far beyond any runs he might have contributed.
Instead, he predicts Maynard's character and attitude will serve as a lasting inspiration to his former team-mates.
'Tom was a huge member of this team, both as a cricket and as a person, but perhaps more as a person. He was loved by everyone,' said Adams.
Life goes on: Surrey were back in action just four days after Maynard's death
'You cannot begin to quantify the loss of his personality in the dressing room. When he opened his mouth, a negative word never came out. It sometimes it isn't clear how much impact someone like that has until they're not there. But there are people here who want to do twice as much to recover that.
'We can take that positivity and grasp it for our team. I wouldn't say we're through anything yet, people are still hurting, but it is time to do our day job and make Tom proud of us for that because it's what he would have done.'
In what has undoubtedly been one of the darker moments for the English game – and the most challenging of Adams' career – the 42-year-old has still found some reason for cheer, notably in the overwhelming reaction to Maynard's death.
'The most humbling factor, the one that fills me with hope, is that you're not aware until something like this how strong the community of cricket is,' Adams continued.
'The messages of support from all counties and from overseas has been just amazing.
'The number of people who contacted us and who came to the funeral is testament not only to what an amazing family the Maynards are but also what an amazing family the cricket is and it makes me proud to be part of it.'