WEST ROGERS PARK — North Side cricket players now have a permanent home to play one of the world's most popular sports.
The Chicago Park District installed the city's second cricket field, consisting of nothing more than a concrete slab covered with green fabric, at Warren Park.
"There were no cricket [pitches] in this area," said Rayees Nizami, president of Illinois Premier League Cricket Conference, which petitioned the Park District for the pitch. "For many years the North Side people would go elsewhere to play — in Bolingbrook, Glendale Heights, Carol Stream. We had to go to other places."
The cricket conference, made up of six teams, serves mostly people from West Rogers Park and the nearby suburbs, he said.
Last summer, the conference hosted the inaugural United Cricket Tournament at Warren Park.
But the poor, uneven field conditions, and lack of a hard pitch, forced most of their activities outside of the city, said Nizami, a native of India.
Now, the conference will stick around Warren Park during the sport's season, which spans from May to October, depending on weather.
Players compete every Saturday and Sunday.
"It’s very good," he said. "Most of the areas don’t have this kind of pitch — Warren Park is beautiful."
The Park District spent about $8,000 to install the pitch, said Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, a Park District spokeswoman.
The South Side's Washington Park also has several cricket pitches.
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