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Matthew Maynard: Glamorgan Should Be The Best Of The Rest

Matthew Maynard will be at the helm again for Glamorgan this season after confirmation last week that he will hold the coaching reins for the forthcoming season. Alun Rhys Chivers spoke to him about his aims and ambitions in his second spell in charge.

After his appointment as Glamorgan’s interim head coach until the end of the coming season, Matthew Maynard has spoken of his desire to see the club become “the best of the rest” on the county circuit.

He singles out Middlesex, Lancashire and Worcestershire as being the stand-out sides in Division Two of the County Championship, and wants the Welsh county to be hot on their heels after a disappointing 2018, which saw the departure of his predecessor Robert Croft and Mark Wallace being appointed Director of Cricket after Chief Executive Hugh Morris stood down following an external review.

“You could say that we’ve got to get promotion from the Second Division to the First Division. But we’ll come up against some very strong sides in the Second Division, like Lancashire and Middlesex. Worcestershire are up and down. We need to be the best of the rest because if you go on a roll as the best of the rest, then you never know what might happen, so I think that’s got to be a realistic role.  There are inconsistencies with young players, and you hope that they will have learned a lot from last year and become stronger, better players.”

While Maynard admits that it’s a case of “more of the same” in T20 cricket despite not reaching the quarter-finals last season, he promises a “different approach” to the 50-over format in 2019 and “better results”.

Ready for 2019?

As in previous winters, Matthew Maynard put together the winter training programme, but this winter it was with one eye on the main role in the summer.

“I got the message of support from Hugh Morris to run it as if I was going to be leading the club for the summer, and not to do it as it has been done, but how I see it should be done if you’re going to be in charge next summer. To be able to take that forward to the end of the season is brilliant from my perspective, and hopefully from the players’ perspective too.”

On those preparations, Maynard says, tongue-in-cheek, that they “probably went a bit too well”, with the main focus on getting the fielding and agility up to scratch. “I felt we were quite a long way behind, so we’ve been doing a lot of fielding and diving techniques. I’m really pleased with those kinds of things, and just stopping the ball, diving technique and catching.

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“In terms of batting, the lads have been batting for two to two and a half hours per session three times a week. If there was a match tomorrow, I’d be very content that they were ready to play.

“Obviously with the bowlers, we started their programme a little bit later with less intensity. They’ve just got to be ready for early April. It’s about slow integration, but for the batting, the amount of batting the batsmen and bowlers have done, I’d be quite happy if there was a game tomorrow.”

Working with Mark Wallace

“Mark Wallace is a good guy and he’s got some really good views on the game,” Maynard says of the new Director of Cricket. “He’s a bluesky thinker, he thinks outside the box quite a lot. I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job as Director of Cricket for Glamorgan for many years to come. I think it’s a long-term position.”

In stark contrast to Maynard’s vast coaching experience, Wallace, a qualified ECB Level 4 coach, is a relative newcomer to the county scene, although he has had experience of working with the counties in a welfare role with the ECB. But he brings other qualities to the role, says Maynard.

“Potentially, people might say they wished we’d got somebody with more experience, but Mark is a very fast learner and has experience outside in terms of a journalism degree. He’s a bright lad, he’s tasted other fields, he’s obviously had the personal, professional welfare and development of players with the PCA. He’s done stuff in the winters and has been self-reliant, and he’s got a very clear path of where he wants to take the club. He didn’t want to make all those changes so quickly. He could have done had he wished, but he said we need a far better season in terms of performance this year and that’s what we’ll be striving for and have been striving for all winter.”

Jobs for the boys?

“It’s a tough one,” admits Maynard when questioned about some fans’ perception of his own appointment as well as that of Wallace to a team which already includes Steve Watkin, David Harrison and Adrian Shaw – all former players.

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“There are a lot of people on the coaching staff who have played at the club. That’s a fact of the matter. In the past, we’ve got externals into the coaching set-up and they haven’t worked. If the club feel at the end of this season that we’ve got the right people in the right places, then I’m sure we’ll carry on in this vain. If it doesn’t, then I’m sure [Mark Wallace] might change it.”

Maynard, for his part, has previously held the role of Director of Cricket at Glamorgan and Somerset, as well as assistant coach to the England side, as well as stints in South Africa and the Caribbean. “I’ve got a lot of experience of coaching. I’ve had various experiences in my life where I’d do things differently now. You adapt and change.”

Adapting and changing – but not dwelling too much on past mistakes – may just be the key to getting Glamorgan back on track. And if anyone can, Matthew Maynard certainly can.

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