AFTER catching the eye of a legendary boxing trainer, hard-hitting batsman Tom Maynard has set his sights on impressing the England captain.
The 22-year-old, who enjoyed a tremendous first season with Surrey after joining from Glamorgan, spent yesterday being put through his paces by Enzo Calzaghe in Abercarn.
The former Ring Magazine trainer of the year, who prepared his son Joe Calzaghe to be Britain’s only undefeated boxing world champion, marked him 11 out of 10. Now Maynard hopes to score as highly with Andrew Strauss.
The right-hander flies off to India on Monday in an England Performance Programme Party that includes Test skipper Strauss and England regulars Matt Prior and Eoin Morgan.
“Anything I can pick up from those guys will give me that extra bit of knowledge that may help later on in the winter,” said Maynard, who also heads to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with England in January.
“With these guys playing so much international cricket you don’t get to mingle with them on the county circuit so I can’t imagine they have seen me play too much.
“I suppose that it’s a chance to make an impression and maybe get the word out.
“”I need some experience of playing in the sub-continent and it’s one area where England have had problems.
“The guys in the EPP have put big emphasis on improving out there, especially in one-day cricket. I feel that this is a good opportunity to push myself and break into that squad.”
The link between boxing and cricket has strengthened in recent years, with the recognition that power can be as important as timing.
It hasn’t always gone to plan – Jimmy Anderson suffered a pre-Ashes rib injury after being cracked by Chris Tremlett in a sparring session last year – but the ability to clear the ropes is emphasised by the next batch of England talent. Maynard will be joined on the winter tours by fellow big-hitting young guns Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales and Jason Roy.
“If you can’t hit the ball out of the park then there is not much space in the one-day game anymore,” said Maynard.
“Of course you need to the all round package, the ability to knock the ball around, manoeuvre the field and read game situations.
“But that big hitting ability is something that is essential and something I think I can bring to the game. Over the last few weeks I have done a lot of power training and training with Enzo is exactly the sort of thing that will strengthen my core and allow me to hit the ball harder and further. I have not done much boxing in the past but, as I have just experienced, the training is intense and you are really put through your paces.
“It’s a complete body workout and you can’t train much better for what I am about to do.
“Enzo is a world class trainer with a proven record. To experience what Joe had to go through on a daily basis for so many years is brilliant and I don’t envy him.”