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16-year-olds Hamza Shaikh and Amir Khan have become the latest players in the Warwickshire County Cricket Club Academy to secure professional contracts, with both players having originally joined the Club at the under 10s age group.

Top order batter Shaikh made a Second XI century last month and he is currently finishing his GCSEs at Eden Boys School in Perry Barr, Birmingham. He started his club career with Smethwick before moving across to Knowle & Dorridge CC in 2019, where he subsequently scored his first Birmingham & District Premier League century last season. He also scored more than 1,000 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 & 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 GCSEs.

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 10s 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.”

The Bears are currently in Vitality Blast T20 action and continued their home campaign against Leicestershire Foxes on Thursday (2 June), 2.30pm start.

The Bears have won their first three T20 fixtures and sit top of the North Group. Tickets are available and fans can save by purchasing tickets in advance at tickets.edgbaston.com.

T20 Quarter-Final: Tickets only £10

Birmingham Bears will host Hampshire Hawks at Edgbaston on Thursday 7 July (6.30pn) in the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.

Adult tickets are available from £10, when you buy in advance of the day of the match. Under 12s go FREE and 12 to 15-year-olds are £1. Members and Season Pass holders go FREE.

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