The 18-year-old from southern California is the second junior cricketer from the state to win the award after Saqib Saleem picked up the honor in 2010.
DreamCricket.com is wrapping up the year in United States Cricket by recognizing USA’s standout performers at the international level. The 2013 New Inning Foundation Junior Cricketer of the Year is Shakeel Ahmad.
The 18-year-old from southern California is the second junior cricketer from the state to win the award after Saqib Saleem picked up the honor in 2010. Cricket success runs in the family as his older brother, Salman Ahmad, claimed the New Inning Foundation Bowler of the Year award in 2011.
Image (right) - USA U-19's Shakeel Ahmad feasted on the short ball against Bermuda U-19. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Through his participation in prior tournaments as a junior cricketer around the USA, Ahmad showed the aptitude to be a good bowler, batsman and wicketkeeper. Like so many other junior players, his natural athleticism allowed him to try many things and do them well. In his earlier development it was unclear what discipline Ahmad would excel at most but this past summer he demonstrated that an increased focus on his batting can produce significant dividends.
Ahmad opened the batting for the USA U-19 team in King City at the ICC Americas U-19 Division One Tournament. He produced the highest individual score for any player at the 50-over tournament with 71 against Bermuda and also finished as the overall top scorer in the 50-over event which was curtailed due to flooding in the greater Toronto area.
One feature of his batting which stood out was his strong off side play. Many junior cricketers who develop their game in the USA fall back on swipes across the line due to the nature of outfields with thick grass which causes them to need to hit the ball in the air over the leg side to try to score runs.
Ahmad was technically strong in defense while his cuts and drives demonstrated the value of playing on proper facilities, where he has access to some of the best in the country in the Los Angeles area both at Woodley Park and at Fontana Field, which was constructed by Dr. Asif Ahmad.
Following the ICC Americas U-19 tournament, Ahmad was one of two USA players selected to represent an ICC Americas U-19 team in the West Indies Cricket Board U-19 Regional tournament. Locally, Ahmad plays for Citrus Valley Cricket Club in the Southern California Cricket Association.
Away from cricket, Ahmad is studying in his freshman year at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
New Inning Foundation and DreamCricket.com congratulate Shakeel Ahmad on his achievement. In recognition of his achievement, Ahmad will receive a plaque as well as a $200 DreamCricket.com Pavilion Shop gift certificate sponsored by New Inning Foundation.