2017 American College Cricket Newcomer of the Year

Abdul Rehman
Hassan Mirza (Canadian College Cricket), Peter Baxter (Ontario Univ Athletics) & Abdul Rehman (Laurier)
©Nina Shu

The American College Cricket Newcomer of 2017 is a final year student in a double degree program, Honours Bachelors of Bus Admin from Wilfre Laurier U, and Honours Bachelors of Math from U of Waterloo.

He also founded Naeem Studios, a tech start up which he plans to take full time upon graduation. It's a "premium Visual Effects (VFX) and 3D Animations studio, we provide 3D art, animations, visual effects, and videography services. From the creative development conception to the execution".

Since this clearly does not keep him busy enough Abdul Rehman Naeem (Laurier) got into bodybuilding 2 years ago, and is now a lean 180 lbs at 6'2. He plans to be 200 lbs of muscle by end of 2019. In the meantime he's quoting Socrates, whilst listening to the music of Metallica, Guns and Roses, Black Sabbath, Pantera, 2Pac and Biggie and bass in the gym :

"I've envisioned to build a classic physique to resemble old school of bodybuilding, the likes of Steve Reeves, Arnold Schwazenegger ! Building muscles naturally with a small waist is really really hardwork especially as a student, but I do it every single day because I once read Socrates: "What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capabl." Its good for my cricket journey as well keeping me fit to play and giving me strength to hit the ball hard. Students look up to me for training advice!"

Abdul has a beautiful dog named Sheroo, & is a motorcycle enthusiast but like practically all American College Cricket members his main passion is cricket, and he founded the cricket club at Laurier, motivated very early to take on York University and other American College Cricket teams. This semester too he started women's cricket at Laurier, culminating in an indoor series vs Ryerson Women. 

Abdul "started cricket very young like any other Pakistani/South Asian kid playing in streets and parks. I desired to play for Pakistan as a fast bowler when I was in grade 8 and met Mudassar Nazar, Director at the National Cricket Academy. After meeting with him it became clear I'd have to sacrifice my education to represent Pakistan,and the dream to study in a good post secondary institute would be compromised. So,instead I focused on playing for my high schools, St Anthony's College and Lahore Grammar School. Since coming to Canada as a student I've been ecstatic to play university level cricket with American College Cricket & Canadian College Cricket, fantastic opportunities for youngsters to play the game they love at a very competitive level, and still get my education."

With his dynamic leadership, on and off the field, his explosive batting which got them into the Mid West Final, and almost got Laurier a last ball Finals win, Abdul has been excellent with social media, so we asked him about that:

"Social media is crucial to raise awareness on Cricket in North America I'm convinced that one way to raise the game to a new height is through effective use of social media which is free, and has a lot of power. I've worked as a Social Media specialist at BlackBerry as one of my coop positions, and I try to do the same with cricket. Currently I'm making a social media template for my team to follow, to more effectively use the social media for developing the game we love !"

The Mid West C'ship in Detroit was Laurier's first American College Cricket tournament, coming after playing in the Canadian College Cricket C'ship in August. With a loud presence on the field, Abdul motivated his players, excited at this first touring opportunity. His humorous sledging even made him popular with his opponents and he ended the tournament as the most popular player !. Abdul's 53* in the Semis vs Iowa State came out of 64 runs, in 24 balls and included 3 sixes & 3 fours of extremely clean hitting ! With 9 runs left in the final over Abdul ended the game with a 6 !

"We can't thank Peter Baxter of Ontario University Athletics and Peter Donohue and Laurier International Students Dept enough for supporting us. Making the tour to Detroit inspired us even more to make it to the Championship in Florida. Our team performed so well, especially Hrishi Modi, Hamza Yousafzai, Bashar Ashfaq, Rahul Roy, Mobeen Esapzai that we feel we have a good chance in March to keep the Chanderpaul Trophy in Canada."  Abdul finished confidently.