Alec Stewart said Tom Maynard may well have gone all the way to the top as English cricket struggled to come to terms with the death of one of its most promising talents at the age of just 23.
Maynard, the son of former Glamorgan and England batsman Matthew Maynard, was killed after being hit by a London Underground train early on Monday morning, the day after playing for Surrey in a 40-over match against Kent.
He'd only been at The Oval for 18 months after joining Surrey from Glamorgan but former England wicket-keeper batsman Stewart, now Surrey's executive director, told the BBC that he'd become "a hugely popular figure" at the club.
And Stewart was convinced Tom, a batsman for the England Lions, the national A team, could have gone on to the senior side, arguing decent career statistics of 2,384 runs in 48 first-class matches at 32.65 with four hundreds did not reflect the true depth of Maynard's talent.
"I remember meeting Tom a few years ago during a holiday in Dubai when he and his father Matt Maynard -- a good friend of mine from our England days -- happened to be staying at the same hotel," Stewart said.
"Tom must have been about 17, but he was putting in the hard yards in the gym. Even back then, he knew where he wanted to go and that may well have been to the very top.
"Tom was a very good trainer and a quick learner who did nothing by half-measures. It was all about getting the best out of what talent and ability he had been given.
"He was an attacking, aggressive batsman and excellent fielder who enjoyed taking responsibility and playing to the situation, whether it was one-day or four-day cricket.
"Having toured with England Lions last winter, he was being talked about in England circles."
Stewart, who spent his entire career with Surrey, said it was hard to put into words the "sense of loss" pervading the club.
Tuesday will see The Oval stage the second one-day international between England and the West Indies and Stewart, forecasting a "very sombre atmosphere", added: "Cricket is a family and a member of that family has been lost."
Mystery surrounded the closing moments of Maynard's life after Scotland Yard said he'd had run away when stopped while driving "erratically" near Wimbledon Park station, close to where he was eventually killed in an incident British Transport Police said was being treated as "non-suspicious".
Meanwhile the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was considering whether to look into Maynard's case.
"Once a formal referral has been received from the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) an assessment will take place regarding the level of IPCC involvement."
Source: AFP Global Edition