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By Peter Della Penna
DreamCricket.com is wrapping up the year in United States Cricket by recognizing USA’s standout performers at the international level. The 2010 Radiant Info Junior Cricketer of the Year is Saqib Saleem.
Junior cricket in America received a big boost of confidence when USA’s U-19 team qualified for the 2010 ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. It was only the second time in history that USA had qualified for a World Cup at any level of cricket.
Through his performances in Canada at the U-19 World Cup Qualifier, Saleem was a major reason why USA was able to get to New Zealand. When he arrived in Queenstown, Saleem picked up right where he left off, producing a series of impressive bowling performances and when given an opportunity, solid contributions with the bat.
He finished as USA’s leading wicket-taker at the U-19 World Cup, taking 10 in six games, twice as many wickets as his next best teammate. The leg-spinner's 10 wickets were also good enough to tie for 9th overall in the tournament and he took them at an average of 14.50. His best performance was in a match reduced to 41 overs against Zimbabwe where he took 4 for 38 in a tough 5-wicket loss.
With the bat, he finished fifth on USA in runs scored at the event. His best effort was 62 against Ireland, the fourth highest score ever produced in a single innings by a USA player at the U-19 World Cup.
In recognition of his achievement, Saleem will receive a plaque as well as a $250 gift certificate sponsored by the New Inning Foundation, DreamCricket.com and Radiant Info.