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Leicestershire County Cricket Club Academy Update June 2021
By Ali Maiden, Head of Talent Pathway
Leicestershire County Cricket Club Academy got their 2021 campaign up and running and have seen a number of impressive performances with bat and ball in their 8 games so far.
The year has started positively for the Running Foxes, with the team having won 5 of their opening 8 fixtures, losing the remaining three.
A 97-ball 86 from Max Law led the Foxes to a 6-wicket victory over Rothley Park CC, this was followed by a supreme 127 by Law in the next fixture as Leicestershire claimed a 26-run victory over Newtown Linford CC.
The Foxes then made it three wins on the bounce as Raheem Ahmed posted 103 off 67 balls to lead his teammates to a 6-wicket victory. Ravi Yarwood-Paintal and Kester Sainsbury led the charge with the ball with both claiming four wickets.
Ahead of the Academy campaign, the Foxes featured in a number of warm-up fixtures against local Club sides. Head of Talent Pathway, Alastair Maiden said: “The first part of the season we played against Club teams as part of their warm-up fixtures to the new season. It was useful for us to get going.
“We played some really good cricket and had a number of impressive performances during this period.”
Maiden continued: “Max [Law] scored a brilliant 127 against Newtown Linford and Rehan Ahmed got a century in a warm up game as well against difficult opposition, and we gradually built up our performances.
“The lads then took that into playing for their Club team as well, so the nice thing from my point of view early in the season is when you are looking around the Club leagues and you are seeing our lads performing – that is the most amazing part.”
The performances for Club teams were highlighted as Sam Wood posted a number of half-centuries on his way to winning Player of the Week in the Village Cup, which was earned with a performance of 60 not out, as well as three wickets.
The impressive start to the season continues with a number of Academy players earning call ups to Second XI.
Maiden explained: “Uday [Modhwadia] played at Northamptonshire and made a really good start to his season. Impressively, he has taken that on to become one of the most economical bowlers in the Second XI.
“Pip [Jackson] has bowled well for the Second XI at times and Dylan Church has been batting a bit lower down the order than what he is used to.
“So they are learning what the step up to the next level is all about.”
The Under 18’s then went on to play their first ECB Cup game of the season, which resulted in a defeat against Nottinghamshire CCC at Lady Bay. The defeat saw a number of decent performances with the bat as Raheem Ahmed posted a 31-ball 45.
However, despite the positivity on the field, this particular time of year brings its own unique hurdles that the staff in the Academy face, as Maiden explains: “It is quite hard at this stage of the year because we are trying to get lads ready to play and up to speed, however, there are a lot of lads with exams going on. It is trying to find the balance and juggle their academic careers alongside their cricket.
“Each person is essentially on an individual program to fit around their studies, and it is nice to see that they are all doing well and are on a nice curve in what is a testing time.”
Further, Maiden added: “The exams will now start coming to an end and we will move into three-day ECB championship cricket which it is all building towards.”
More recently, the Under 18s were victorious over Derbyshire Under 18s last week by 9 wickets.
Fred Fallows starred as he scored 90* off 52 balls and Aryan Patel scored 53* off 39 balls chasing 183. The batting performances came off the back of some impressive stints with the ball as Rehan Ahmed posted 4 for 17 from 10 overs, Fred Fallows began his impressive day with 2 for 29 off 10 overs bowling impressive spin.
Alongside the Under 18s, the younger age groups are also progressing well, especially following the lack of cricket during the COVID-19 pandemic, with their programme building towards the summer holidays.
Maiden said: “The Under 12s and Under 11s programme is doing really well.
“We didn’t want to pick a small squad last year to give the chance to everyone to receive coaching. This resulted in 140 kids being coached over two age groups, and these are now receiving regular coaching and support from Dave Whitmore and Jigar Naik.
“These teams also have games coming up too, with a view to the Club’s Academy looking to build a solid base to the pyramid and be inclusive of all.”
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