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Midlands cricket in mourning as Penkridge captain dies aged 37

Midlands cricket is in mourning following the death of Penkridge first team captain Laeq Chishti aged just 37.

Laeq Chishti was aged 37
Laeq Chishti was aged 37

Chishti passed away in hospital on Monday night, having first been admitted last month after contracting Covid-19.

The father-of-two’s death has stunned the club and the region’s cricket community, of which he was a popular member during a career which also took in stops at Aston Unity, Old Hill and Halesowen.

“This is a massive loss to our club and to the wider cricketing community,” said Penkridge chairman Jon Price.

“The person Laeq was and the level he played at meant he was well-known in the game and well respected.

“Of course, cricket pales into comparison when you consider the impact on his young family. All our thoughts and prayers are with them. It really is a tragedy.”

A talented all-rounder, Chishti started his career with Aston before going on to play for Old Hill and Halesowen in the Birmingham League.

He joined Penkridge in 2009 and went on to score nearly 5,000 runs in all competitions for the club, while taking more than 300 wickets. In 2011, he played a major role in the club’s Staffs Clubs League title success and continued to be a key performer during seven seasons in the Birmingham League.

Chishti was also a prominent figure in the Midlands Club Cricket Conference before its dissolution in 2019, captaining the team on numerous occasions and claiming a victory over the MCC at Lord’s.

He took over as first-team skipper at Penkridge five years ago with his brothers, Attiq and Atta, also playing for the club.

When news of his death emerged yesterday morning it prompted a deluge of tributes from other clubs, former team-mates and opponents.

“Laeq was just a lovely guy, both on and off the field,” explained Penkridge club captain Paul Szewczyk.

“As a player he had bundles of natural ability and as a person he would do anything for anybody. It’s a big loss and I can’t stop thinking about his family.

“You really couldn’t meet a nicer guy. No-one had a bad word to say about him.

“It is no surprise the amount of messages we have received from other clubs over the past few hours.

“It has touched a lot of people.

“Everyone respected him as a cricketer but more importantly everyone respected him as a man too.”

Chishti played his final match for Penkridge in the South Staffs League on August 14.

League administrator Kevin Herbert said: “As a league, we are devastated. I know there are many people at clubs around the region who feel the same.

“Laeq was the perfect gentleman and as a captain he led Penkridge with distinction.

“He played the game hard but fair.

“I am sure he would have gone on playing for many more years, giving younger players the benefit of his experience as I know he already had done.

“It’s just such a shock to lose someone at such a young age. All our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

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