The Regina Cricket Association is changing the name to honour a member who tragically lost his life earlier this year.
Moving forward, the league will be called the Ahmed Cheema Cricket league, in memory of one of the league’s most popular players.
Cheema died in a motorcycle accident in May at the intersection of 23 Ave. and Wascana Parkway. He was 24 years old.
“I lost so many players here and there but the biggest loss we had a couple months ago, that was Ahmed Cheema,” said Salman Ali, one of Cheema’s former teammates.
Ali has been playing with the Titans Cricket Club the last eight years.
“I lost my player, I lost my brother, I lost my kid and Regina also lost, one future,” Ali said.
Cheema was an international student at the University of Regina and very involved in campus life. He was a volunteer radio host, an active member of the Muslim Students Association and when it came to cricket, he went all-out.
“He was really active in cricket and he was one of the nicest players in our entire league,” said Ali.
On one occasion, Cheema scored 83 runs in 24 balls. For context, that statistic would have been the best batting strike rate at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
The Pakistan product helped the Titan Bulls win the league title in 2018, their first. Being such a beloved member of the community, the Regina Cricket Association wanted to make sure his name wouldn’t be forgotten.
“Everyone else agreed that we should name our league after him, to pay our honour, to pay our tribute to him,” said Sabih Fawad, the association’s treasurer.
Cheema’s family lives in Saudi Arabia. When he passed away, none of his immediate family was present. Due to the pandemic, none of his next of kin could bury their own son, brother and friend.
This small act of remembrance in renaming the league after Cheema gave his family some closure.
“His brother just started crying,” said Ali.
“We can’t fill that gap, but knowing that their kid made a difference in so many people’s lives and so many people remember him, I’m sure it probably brings some peace for him,” said Fawad.
The popular player is gone, but his name will live on in a community that respected him so much.
“Inshallah,” said Ali, which means if God wills it. “I pray for him forever as a brother, as a mentor, as a Captain. I loved him.”