London: Former England captain Michael Vaughan hopes the increased testing for recreational drugs promised by cricket chiefs following the death of Surrey batsman Tom Maynard will "frighten" anyone still using them. A coroner's inquest in central London was told on Monday that Maynard was nearly four times above the legal alcohol limit for driving and had taken cocaine and ecstasy before he was electrocuted and hit by a train in June last year.
The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death on the promising cricketer, whose father was former England batsman Matthew Maynard. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) responded by announcing increased testing for recreational, as well as performance-enhancing, drugs.
Vaughan, writing in Wednesday's Daily Telegraph, said: "There will be players in cricket who have taken recreational drugs and are still doing it, but I hope Tom Maynard's tragic story will make them stop. "There are around 400 professional cricketers in England and it would be naive to think Tom's is an isolated case. There are bound to be more who have taken drugs in the past or are still doing it now. The England and Wales Cricket Board is going to introduce more testing for recreational drugs and that will frighten a few into cleaning up their acts."
Before the 23-year-old Maynard's death, Surrey were captained by Rory Hamilton-Brown, a friend since school, who stepped down from the leadership and later joined Sussex after his flatmate's passing. Surrey have recruited South Africa captain Graeme Smith and former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting as overseas players for the upcoming English season.
Vaughan said the influence of two such vastly experienced cricketers could have a hugely beneficial effect on the Oval-based county's youthful squad. "There was a lack of those players at Surrey 12 months ago but next summer they will have Graeme Smith and Ricky Ponting," Vaughan wrote. "Two men who are exactly the right kind of role models for young kids making their way in cricket."
Meanwhile current England batsman Ian Bell also backed the use of increased testing, telling the BBC: "Other sports are doing it. It's important what has happened doesn't happen again."
Do you think budding cricketers will learn from this sad incident?