James Harris column: Remembering Tom Maynard

By James HarrisMiddlesex and England Lions
James Harris

Swansea-born Middlesex and ex-Glamorgan bowler James Harris remembers his friend Tom Maynard one year on from his death.

This week was the first anniversary of the death of my former Glamorgan team-mate and friend Tom Maynard.

Tom died on 18 June last year. It was a tragic event and it has been well documented what happened, but all the stuff that came out in the press is not the Tom I knew.

I will always remember Tom as a fantastic guy who I got on with very well and somebody I really enjoyed playing cricket with.

He was incredibly talented and was destined for great things. The anniversary of his death brought back some pretty tough memories of how I felt when it all happened.

But the Tom Maynard Trustexternal-link has been set up and is doing some fantastic things in his memory, as are people from Millfield School who are raising funds to send a child to the school sometime in the future.

What is being done in Tom's memory represents the guy I know, and how I choose to remember him.

Tom left Glamorgan for Surrey and always told me much he was enjoying his time in London. A move to London had always appealed to me because I'd always wanted to live in this part of the world, but only if the cricketing options were the right ones.

The first few weeks after I moved to Middlesex were a frustration due to a niggling hamstring injury which I picked up and was probably the result of my own over-eagerness and wanting to prove that they had made a good investment by signing me. I was also trying to prove to myself that I deserved to be with them.

I probably came back from that injury too soon, forced things and the problem lingered longer than it should have done. It should have been a 10-day thing but ended up being a three-week injury.

That injury cost me a place with the England Lions and that was disappointing, but I wasn't the guy with any kind of form and hadn't played any kind of really good cricket when the squad was announced.

There's no complaints about that from me and these things happen, but the drive and determination to play international cricket is still there and has never been bigger.

I have made no bones about the fact that I want to play cricket for England and that is what I am aiming for and working hard for every day. It's all about chipping away in the nets and working hard in the gym and making sure I improve every day and to push my way up the ladder to the forefront of the selectors' minds.

So I just have to keep knocking on the door and make sure I am the one who batters it down the next time they need a player. My former Lions team-mate Joe Root is a prime example of how things can change quickly and proves what can be achieved with hard work.

Joe and I have been on a couple of tours together and his emergence at international level just spurs you on and makes you realise how close you are to an England call-up. A couple of good performances, here and there, could see you in the team.

It also shows the value of the Lions team in the England set-up and that there is real pathway to international honours and that playing for England is in touching distance.

That is something I am striving for now and for the next decade. Getting one cap is the aim and then seeing how many more I can get after that to fill the cupboard at home.

While most people have probably been watching the Champions Trophy, I have been knuckling down with Middlesex and the last few weeks have been very good for me, even if the body has taken a bit of a pounding.

I will really have to take care of myself over the next few weeks, just because their is a real upward spike in the workload on the body, with back-to-back championship games and also the move into the one-day game and Twenty20 cricket.

We are battered and bruised, like most teams are at this time of the season, because there is so much cricket to play in such a short space of time. It is difficult changing from one format to another because you need a different skill-set for one form of cricket to another.

Batsmen do come at you so much harder in Twenty20 cricket, so you need much more trickery but to be much more disciplined in your approach.

The demands can be tough. We will play a Twenty20 game, then the following morning we will play a four-day championship game and then have another Twenty20 game straight after that.

It really calls for guys to be mentally switched on and to be able to adapt quickly to the unique demands of each format of the game and have the ability to switch from one form of cricket to another.

James Harris was talking to BBC Sport's Simon Roberts