Glamorgan spinner Prem Sisodiya has agreed a new deal with the county after a breakthrough season in T20 cricket.
The 22-year-old will remain at Glamorgan at least until the end of the 2023 season.
Sisodiya says it would be a “massive deal” if he is seen as a role model for young Welsh Asian players.
“I’m over the moon about signing the new contract. It’s nice to commit to Glamorgan ,” he said.
“I wasn’t really expecting it at the start of (last) year.”
Sisodiya is the first Welsh player with two Asian parents to represent the county, though Kiran Carlson also has Asian heritage.
The left-arm bowler from Cardiff opened the bowling for Glamorgan in all nine T20 fixtures in the restricted 2020 campaign.
He was their most economical bowler, conceding 6.44 runs per over, and claimed 10 wickets with a best of 3-26 against Northants.
“It was nice to play regularly in T20, to show a bit of what I can do, and to be rewarded with a three-year senior deal,” Sisodiya added.
“For now I’m trying to cement my name in Glamorgan’s first team in each format, then see what happens from there – ultimately the dream for everyone is to play for England.”
Although Glamorgan have fielded overseas Asian players such as Waqar Younis and Ravi Shastri, and Yorkshireman Ismail Dawood played in the 1990s, Sisodiya and Carlson are the first Asian products from Glamorgan’s academy to make the grade despite a huge Asian presence in Welsh club cricket.
Last September Glamorgan were accused of racism by former second-team cricketer Mohsin Arif, while an alleged incident was also recounted about another player, Imran Hassan. The county said they were “deeply concerned to learn of both Mohsin’s and Imran’s experiences” and said they would like to meet with both men “to learn more”.
“It means the world to me (to be a trail-blazer), I’m quite close to the Asian community in the area so it’s a massive deal for me,” Sisodiya told BBC Sport Wales.
“I hope that younger kids and people coming into the game can see that I’ve done it and follow in my footsteps, because there’s a lot of talent out there.
“Hopefully they can get involved with club cricket at a younger age and they can introduce it at schools more, especially in the community in Grangetown (Cardiff) where I grew up.”
Sisodiya made his Glamorgan debut in 2018, playing in two Championship matches, and featured in two T20 games in 2019.
He is grateful for the help of Dean Cosker, the left-arm spinner who spent two decades in the Glamorgan squad between 1996 and 2016.
“I’ve worked closely with Dean and he’s helped a great deal. He was a really good white-ball bowler so I picked up a lot of stuff off him and it’s been good to pick his brains,” said Sisodiya.
Glamorgan director of cricket Mark Wallace is delighted with Sisodiya’s progress.
“Prem was one of our real stand-outs from last season, he’s always had a huge amount of potential coming through our academy,” Wallace said.
“Getting the opportunity not just to play but to take a real front-line role in opening the bowling, he really stood out, as well as coming back on later under pressure.
“He really shone last season on a rookie contract so he’s been rewarded with a full three-year contract. We see him as someone with great potential, he’s desperate to break into the longer form as well as play some four-day contract,” Wallace said.
“It’s great to have Prem out there playing for various reasons, the role model (for the Welsh Asian community) is a good thing and he has come through our academy pathway.
“He’s certainly got ambitions to move forward with Glamorgan to England Lions and England so he’s a role model not just for people in Wales but around the country (UK) as well.”
Sisodiya and his Glamorgan team-mates have resumed training four times a week in small groups, an improvement on the first lockdown when they were on furlough and had to train individually.
T20 Blast and One-Day Cup fixtures for 2021 are likely to be released in January, completing the county schedule from April until August with September matches dependent on earlier results.