Thursday, January 21, 2016

News: Rotherham cricketer enters field of business

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A former professional cricketer from Rotherham has proved to be a true all-rounder having turned his hand to setting up in business.

Rotherham-born Shaaiq Choudhry has turned the uncertainty of being released by Worcestershire at the end of last season into a successful business career by launching a new fashion brand, Brothers Circle.

The left-arm spinner, who initially initially joined Worcestershire on an eight week trial at the start of the 2010 season, linked up with his business partner Naveed Ahmed to launch the new company in Rotherham at the end of 2015. Choudhry has recently secured £1,000 from the Professional Cricketers' Association personal development scholarships. Introduced in 2013, the scholarships aim to find and reward the most proactive members, past and present, on or off the pitch, in the area of personal development.

Brothers Circle has gone from strength to strength, boosted by stars of television programmes wearing their range of snapbacks and beanies.

Choudhry's former Worcestershire team mates Moeen Ali, Joe Clarke, New Zealand internationals Mitchell McClenaghan and Colin Munro, as well as England and Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid and Nottinghamshire's Harry Gurney, are all helping to promote the Brothers Circle band.

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Shaaiq Choudhry, co-founder of Brothers Circle (pictured), said: "It's something that I talked about doing in the summer. I stopped playing, Naveed approached me to try and get something set up and it was too good an opportunity to turn down so I jumped at it.

"We have both set it up and got it running and it's taken off really well. A number of reality television stars and sports people are wearing our gear. We've had guys from Geordie Shore, Ex On The Beach and Love Island who have taken a liking to our stuff. That has helped us a lot. They have posted on their social media platforms as well so that has brought in a bigger audience for us. Some of these guys have got 100,000 followers and so that has raised our profile.

"Colin Munro is going to be one of our sponsored players - he's got our sticker on his bats. That will be good for us especially if he gets an IPL [Indian Premier League] gig."

Choudhry, who already has a degree in ICT, is currently studying for a degree in graphic design with the Interactive Design Institute and has used those skills to help establish Brothers Circle.

"It's a partnership predominantly. I have done all the design and the website but I have done a lot of it simply because I have been out of work," Choudhry added.

"My business partner has a day job. We have both put in a steady amount of work to get it up and running. It took four or five months to plan it all and get it all going. That's when the marketing takes over which is what I am now focused on.

"I have been fortunate that my business partner has invested as well. But the costs of setting up and getting it started was quite costly. We were learning as we were going on. You make a few mistakes here and there but generally I think we have kept our costs to a minimum."

In addition to the scholarship, Choudhry has been supported by the PCA to smooth his transition from professional cricket. He is set to start a new job as a software test analyst based in Leeds.

Brothers Circle website
Professional Cricketers' Association website

Images: Brothers Circle / Instagram / Worcestershire CCC

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