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Personal Development Ambassadors 2016
Yorkshire’s County Championship-winning captain Andrew Gale, Northamptonshire all-rounder Steven Crook, Warwickshire pair Richard Jones and Jonathon Webb, former England pace bowler Amjad Khan and former Worcestershire slow left armer Shaaiq Choudhry are the winners of this year’s PCA 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.
Gale and Crook were the winners in the Current Players category, Jones and Webb took the prizes in the Newcomers category and Khan and Choudhry won the Past Player Progression Personal Development Awards.
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 Executives. Webb’s presentation included the idea of an online communication tool that could be used by PCA members.
As well as leading Yorkshire to back-to-back County Championships Gale has found time to develop and expand his business Pro Coach which now coaches more than 3,000 youngsters across the country with a turnover of £360,000. Former Yorkshire wicketkeeper Barney Gibson, Worcestershire batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Derbyshire slow left armer Tom Knight are among those who have benefited from Pro Coach coaching. Kane Williamson, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell have run masterclasses for the organisation. Gale will use his Scholarship money to purchase a fielding machine and new computer screen and hopes that his success will encourage other players to draw up a personal development plan. “Personal Development is massive. You can see the benefits while you are playing because it gives you confidence. There is a big bad world out there, you have a fantastic job as a cricketer so you should enjoy it and make the most of it,” Gale said. “But if cricket comes to and end through injury or loss of your contract, having something else in place helps to give you confidence that you can fill that gap. You can never be too prepared for when your career ends. It’s a case of realising that and planning for the future in the present.”
Crook submitted a varied CV which included sitting on the board of Northants Recreational Cricket and establishing his own company, Mau Media, whose clients include Cricket United, Hyundai. Seat and Northants Cricket. “Personal Development is very important. It’s something that all players should be doing. Having something going on outside the game takes my mind off cricket,” he said. “When I come in and train and play I am fresh. I come in with a clear mind. I don’t tend to over-complicate things too much. It’s nice to have something to fall back on.”
The Warwickshire pace bowler is in the second year of a part-time distance learning degree in Sports and Exercise Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and is also working as a strength and conditioning intern at Warwickshire to gain valuable work experience. He also completed his Level Two coaching qualifications in October on a bespoke course devised for professional players devised by the PCA and England and Wales Cricket Board. “My Personal Development has been a long journey a bit of a wonky road,” Jones said. “I looked at various other things. I nearly committed to a sports journalism course and I was flirting with the idea of doing a business course but there was nothing I could properly commit to. “So working with my Lynsey Williams, my Personal Development Manager, I came across the course I am doing now. Everything fitted perfectly.”
Graduated with a 2:1 degree in graphic design from Leeds University, Webb has put his qualifications to good use by helping kit manufacturer Woodworm redesign their label and working closely with Warwickshire and England batsman Ian Bell on his new equipment range. Webb also worked in Warwickshire’s commercial department last summer while he was sidelined with a shoulder injury and has spent time working for Class Creative, who have helped the club redesign their Birmingham Bears brand. “The experiences I have had away from the game have helped me appreciate what is out there after cricket,” Webb said.
Kent and Sussex (retired)
Khan, who played for Kent and Sussex before he retired in 2014, is still involved in cricket in his native Denmark where he is now in the second year of law degree at the Southern University of Denmark. Khan has already used his legal knowledge to provide legal aid to help refugee children from Syria find their families and his enjoying his new career. “I like to tell a good story. You hear about the different players who finish their careers and then struggle but, thanks to the PCA, I have a life that is equally as rewarding as being a professional cricketer,” he said.
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.