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