Naperville’s Cricket League a Unique One

If you’re taking a stroll through Commissioner’s Park on a weekend afternoon, you’ll see plenty of soccer, lacrosse, baseball, basketball and even in-line hockey.

But there’s one sport that may surprise you—cricket.

The Naperville Park District has run the only park district-sponsored cricket league in the US for the past three seasons. And for baseball fans, the game that was born in 16th Century England will look somewhat similar.

“Anybody who likes hitting home runs, they would love this game,” said
Swetal Vaidya, member of the Titans, who won the Park District’s cricket
league championship in 2008.

The rules of cricket do have some stark differences to those of America’s Pastime, but shouldn’t be too hard to grasp if you root for the Cubs or the Sox.

Each team has eleven players who bat each bowled, or pitched, ball throughout the field of play before running back and forth on the pitch, the area in the middle of the field that acts as a base path and batter’s box, to score runs. A batter is out if the ball is caught, the ball strikes the wickets behind the batter, or a fielder gets to the wickets before a batsman. Once the batting team is all out or has gone through its designated number of balls, the defensive team takes the pitch and tries to catch up. The team with the most runs at the end of both innings is the winner.

For players on the Titans, the sport with the hard red ball and the white clothing is a great way to get away from everyday life on a weekend, but it’s also much more than that.

“It’s not just a game, it’s kind of a religion to us,” said Nipun Joshi, first-year Titan. “And (it’s) a nice place for us to get together and talk about everything else, along with the game.”

Other players noted the sport is one of the few things that can get them out of bed before 9am on a weekend morning.

“Most of us are coming close to our forties now,” said Titan Ketan Jahagidear. “But I’ll tell you what, Saturday morning we’re up rearing to go. It’s something we look forward to.”

And that eagerness has helped the Titans, who are gunning for a repeat. Team
members are quite confident that will happen, with Vaidya even putting out a
guarantee with the tagline, “We’re the Titans, remember us, we’re coming.”

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