Maynard death highlights drugs dangers in cricket

Tragic young cricketer Tom Maynard had high quantities of cocaine, alcohol and ecstasy in his system when he died last June, an inquest revealed. Maynard was hit by an underground train after fleeing from police who had stopped his car.

A toxicologist’s report noted that Maynard's hair showed residues of cocaine consistent with almost daily use for several months. His blood alcohol level of 240 micrograms per 100ml was four times the drink-drive limit.

The troubled young cricketer had shown outstanding talent as a batsman. The 23 year-old joined Surrey from Glamorgan in 2011 and had featured in the England Lions team. Experts suggested he was being fast-tracked towards the full England side.

His Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown had been drinking with Maynard on the night in question and said that Maynard was "pretty intoxicated". Neither Hamilton-Brown nor another team mate, the England bowler Jade Dernbach were aware that Maynard was using cocaine. Another Surrey player, Mark Ramprakash said, "I suppose there had been rumours before the inquest regarding Tom's behaviour and perhaps what he'd been up to, so it wasn't a complete surprise."

The tragedy has raised the issue of drug use among young cricketers. Although there is limited testing for performance-enhancing drugs, there had been little attention paid to recreational drug use until the Maynard case. Angus Porter, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association, believes testing would be a helpful way of recognising addiction at an early stage. "The critical thing is that the use of recreational drugs out of competition needs to be thought of very differently from performance-enhancing," he said.

The Association’s camp for young cricketers will address the dangers of alcohol and recreational drug use. The Tom Maynard Trust, set up in memory of the player, will support the camp, with Maynard a dark reminder of the extreme consequences that can come with addiction.

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