HAMZA SHAIKH and Amir Khan, both 16, have become the latest players in the Warwickshire County Cricket Club Academy to secure professional contracts.
Both players originally joined the club at the under-10’s age group and top order batter Shaikh made a Second XI century last month and is currently finishing his GCSE’s at Eden Boys School in Perry Barr, Birmingham.
He started his club career with Smethwick before moving across to Knowle and Dorridge CC in 2019, where he subsequently scored his first Birmingham and District Premier League century last season.
Shaikh also scored more than 1,000 runs in the season for the Warwickshire pathway.
Khan, a left-handed batter who can bowl right and left-arm finger spin, also plays for Knowle and Dorridge, having made the move from Sheldon-Marlborough CC where his cricketing journey began.
He also scored more than 1,000 runs in Warwickshire pathway teams last year and made a Second XI Championship century against Lancashire.
Khan attends Cockshut Hill School in Yardley, Birmingham, where he is also completing his GCSE’s.
Paul Greetham, High Performance Manager at Warwickshire CCC, said: “Both Hamza and Amir have made hundreds in our Second XI as 15-year-olds and they have incredible potential to move beyond these initial rookie contracts.
“Both players started in the Warwickshire system in the under-10’s team, they attend local Birmingham schools, have enjoyed good early careers in the local club game, which will continue, and their families have been fantastic in supporting their journey.
“We’re thrilled that both have taken this initial step towards what will hopefully be long careers as Bears.”
The graduation of Shaikh and Khan to the senior ranks follows on from the recent contract signed by fellow Academy ‘class of 2022’ member Che Simmons.
Nine Academy members have won professional contracts since 2019 with 12 members of Warwickshire’s senior men’s squad coming through the pathway.
Paul Farbrace, Director of Cricket at Warwickshire CCC, said: “We’re very proud of the strides that our pathway has made in recent years.
“Having Ian Westwood and Richard Jones as part of our backroom team has been critical, in taking young players on this journey and educating them about what is needed to reach the professional ranks.
“It’s great to see two local players in Hamza and Amir becoming the latest Warwickshire pathway cricketers to graduate.
“Both will play a big role for us in the Royal London Cup, but there’s no reason why they cannot push for a first team place in other formats if they continue churning out Second XI runs.
“They’ve come on a huge amount in the last 12 months and we believe they can be part of Warwickshire teams for many years.
“We ultimately want all of our players to be part of Warwickshire teams that can help us win trophies and play for England, and Hamza and Amir have a great chance of doing both.”