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Akhil Khan A Success On & Off The Field

By Orin Davidson

Back in his homeland, Akhil Khan never heard the old English expression “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.

Throughout his youthful years though, he has been making himself the perfect portrayal of it.

Akhil Khan

Of all the young players to emerge on the New York horizon in recent times, Khan is the best example of achievement on and off the cricket field.

Following an outstanding career as a junior, Khan immediately catapulted himself into the New York senior team as a regular in the last three years, based solely on his batting and bowling ability.

During that time he was scoring solid points with the books and to date is well on his way to becoming a doctor.

Within the next few months he will start medical school after shining for five years at Newcomers High school and the prestigious St John’s University here in New York.

But it is for his cricket exploits Khan is best known for after emigrating from India to the United States back in 1997.

Over the years he developed into an incisive fast bowler and a valuable batsman down the order.

Those qualities made him the first player from the Cricket International Junior Youth Development Program, to break into the New York senior team.

And he may yet be the youngest at 19 years, to make the final playing 11.

So far Khan has been a regular squad member for three years and shared in their title winning performances in 2004 in Los Angeles and in Washington last year.

He is normally called upon to complete the middle overs of the innings when batsmen looking to consolidate, are thwarted by his economy and control.

Because he was good enough to make the senior team, it did not allow Khan to represent New York at the national junior championship which was inaugurated in 2004.

It does not mean he never had opportunities to shine at that level, because he became the lone JYDP member to play in the West Indies Under-19 championships.

If missing out on the United States of America Cricket Association’s (USACA) junior competitions was a disappointment for the young all-rounder, Khan had the greater pleasure of winning selection for the more difficult Americas Under-23 team, comprising players from five countries including the United States and Canada.

That was the squad that competed in the West Indies Under-19 series in 2004 where Khan had the distinction of playing at the famous Test arena Sabina Park in Jamaica.

One year earlier, he realized a long held dream when he played at world renowned Test ground at Bourda in Guyana.

“It was always a dream of mine to play at a Test ground and doing so at Bourda made it come through,” the youngster explained.

It was during one of two successful tours he made with U.S. Under-19 teams.

The Guyana tour was the first ever made by the JYDP and it’s most successful. They copped six victories from eight games after having to adjust to unfamiliar conditions including getting used to turf pitches from matting surfaces.

Khan got one half century batting low in the order in one of the victories, but the tour’s highlight was defeating the Canada team competing in the West Indies Under-19 series at the time.

They also beat a Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) senior side led by current West Indies vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan.

Khan opened the bowling in all the games which laid the foundation for success afterwards.

He made a follow-up tour with the New Jersey-based USA Academy team to Trinidad and Tobago later in the year.

As a boy he could’ve never anticipated all the exposure and fun experiences when he left India for America.

At the time Khan was a school and district junior player in Nanded city in Maharastra state.

He started like many young Indian players, playing tape-ball cricket with his brothers, but soon because captain of his school team.

He won one title as captain before leaving and remembers hitting the fastest 50 from 15 balls in the competition and beginning and ending another innings with sixes.

Presently Khan would love to accelerate his cricket career, but he first intends to fulfill a life-long goal of becoming a doctor.

Next month he will complete his Bachelors of Science degree from St John’s and will take medical school exams shortly after. With a GPA averaging 3.74 and being placed on the Dean’s List in 2004/05, Khan is optimistic about his academic future.

It began at Newcomers High School for immigrants where Khan was among the top 10 graduates with a 3.92 GPA.

Overcoming the early challenges was a breeze for the youngster and getting to his next goal of becoming America’s first cricketing doctor seems a formality.
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