Former Worcestershire spinner Shaaiq Choudhry is one of the winners of this year’s Professional Cricketers’ Association Personal Development Scholarships.
The scholarships were introduced by the PCA in 2013 to find and reward the most proactive members, past and present, on or off the pitch, in the area of Personal Development.
Choudhry and former England fast bowler Amjad Khan were the winners in the Past Player Progression Personal Development category with Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale and Nirthamptonshire all rounder Steven Crook winning in the Current Players category, and Warwickshire pair Richard Jones and Jonathon Webb taking the prizes in the Newcomers category.
All six will receive £1,000 towards Personal Development course funding, resources of their choice or to reimburse costs already incurred.
Webb will receive a further £1,000 after his presentation was highly commended by the judging panel of PCA Chief Executive Angus Porter, PCA Assistant Chief Executive Jason Ratcliffe, PCA National Personal Development Manager Ian Thomas and Charlie Mulraine, one of the PCA’s six-strong team of Personal Development and Welfare Managers.
Choudhry, who began his county career with Warwickshire, had started planning for life after cricket before he was released by Worcestershire at the end of last season.
He has now set up business with a friend in Rotherham producing the Brothers Circle fashion range which has been well-supported by Choudhry’s former Worcestershire team mates and stars of a number of television reality programmes.
“Without Personal Development I would not be where I am today. All the skills I have built up while playing cricket have come into use now,” Choudhry said.
“That’s thanks to the PCA and Lynsey Williams. I have worked outside of cricket and it’s something that a lot of cricketers should do because it makes the transition from cricket into working so much easier. Without that experience I would be lost.”
Choudhry gained valuable work experience with Worcester-based Beard last winter and so enjoyed the experience that he is now studying for.
“I spent a winter with We are Beard. The lads there are great and I really enjoyed myself. I worked nine to five and the days would fly by. I would then go and do an hour’s gym session and it felt like a 10 hour shift,” he said.
"That is when I felt the time was right to make the transition into working. I tried several ideas and picked Lynsey’s brain. Some ideas were poor and I didn’t pursue them but there were some that I stuck with and graphic design was one of them.
“That’s come in handy with this fashion clothing brand. It’s helped me save a lot of money with the branding and website.
“My first degree was IT and business so the business aspect has come in handy but the IT part of it was a stepping stone into graphics so it has all played a part.”
All the shortlisted candidates for the Scholarship Awards had to make s short presentation before they were interviewed by the judging panel.
“I’ve not dome a presentation for eight to ten years so it was a bit nerve wracking at first but I felt it went all right,” Choudhry said.
“I looked forward to it. I was excited in a nervous kind of way. You are out of your comfort zone but you are doing something different which I enjoy.”
Ian Thomas, the former Glamorgan batsman who now leads the PCA's Personal Development and Welfare Programme, said: “The PCA Personal development Scholarship Awards have become an annual event in the calendar.
"With over 20 applications, we had a tough job shortlisting and we thank all members for their applications. Over 80% of players are now engaged in a Personal Development plan.
"These awards highlight the winners as ambassadors and will hopefully inspire others to take similar paths. The day provides the shortlisted candidate with the task to present on a set challenge and go through a rigorous interview process.
"Many congratulations to all six on their awards and to Jonathon Webb on the quality of his presentation. We look forward to more players applying in the future.”
The next PCA Personal Development Scholarship Awards application process will open in August 2016.