England Test captain Andrew Strauss was among the mourners at the funeral of Tom Maynard in Cardiff.
The 23-year-old Surrey batsman,buried in his home city,was one of the rising stars of English cricket but he died last month after being hit by a train on a London Underground railway line.
Kevin Pietersen,a county colleague of Maynard’s at Surrey was also in attendance yesterday among a congregation of some 900 mourners at Cardiff’s Llandaff Cathedral,as were former England captains Andrew Flintoff,Alec Stewart and Mike Gatting.
Also alongside were Maynard’s father Matthew,himself a former England batsman,mother Sue and sister Ceri were Wales rugby great Gareth Edwards and England’s Danny Cipriani.
Strauss said: “I first saw Tom when he was a teenager when Matthew was batting coach of England.
“He had grown up so well since then and was forging a name for himself in the game of cricket.
“I suppose that’s part of what makes it so tragic he is no longer with us.
“I obviously feel so much for Matthew,Sue and the family to have to go through this.
“But I think today is as much about celebrating Tom and what he achieved as it is saying goodbye.
“It’s obviously a very tough day for everyone who knew him,no more so than for members of his family.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Hugh Morris,a former Glamorgan captain,delivered a eulogy to a player who was tipped for full England honours in the near future.
“The presence of so many members of the cricket community tells me Tom was not only a player blessed with extraordinary talent,but somebody whose sense of fun and enjoyment made him a hugely popular figure within our game,” Morris said.
Among his pallbearers on Wednesday was Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown,a friend since their schooldays.
So hard-hit was Hamilton-Brown by Maynard’s death,he has now decided to take an indefinite break from all cricket.
Hamilton-Brown,in a statement issued by Surrey,said Wednesday: “I have decided to take a break from cricket.
“I am grateful to the club for their support and understanding of my decision and I look forward to returning to the game where I will hope to contribute and take forward my form of recent seasons.”
Surrey chief executive Richard Gould added: “Tom’s death has affected many people,and he and Rory were great friends.
“Rory now needs some time out,and the club is keen to provide whatever support we can. Rory has performed very well both as captain and as one of our leading players over the last three years,and we look forward to him returning when the time is right.”
Hamilton-Brown will be replaced as captain by Gareth Batty,who has led Surrey in their recent Twenty20 matches.
An inquest into Maynard’s death has been opened and adjourned at Westminster Coroner’s Court — with Dr Shirley Radcliffe saying “extensive investigations” were continuing.