Ground Breaking Ceremony of Cricket Project in Hanover Park
BY DR. NILESH D. MEHTA
HANOVER PARK, IL- Cricket in the United States is being played at several locations and that too at competitive levels. Several leagues in major cities across the country have been locking horns to gain supremacy for their territorial bragging rights. Cricket Council USA has continued to engage in cricket activities not only in Florida but slowly expanding their presence in Georgia and Illinois among other geographic areas. This organization has provided a platform for the players to play the sport in different parts of the country. CCUSA classifies itself as a ‘Sports and Entertainment Management Organisation’ and is famous for its annual T20 competition held every year in Florida. It remains a non-sanctioned organisation with no affiliation to the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA).
Baseball continues to be the favorite summer sport for folks in the USA. Having drawn some parallel as an entertainment package from this sport, the concept of Twenty20 was born more than a decade ago. Within a few years, there are leagues of this ultrashort format of cricket all over the world including Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It certainly provides a result oriented, fast paced, entertaining cricket. Purists argue that Twenty20 is not real cricket, however, this is what brings cricketainment to the current generation of cricket fans. Even in the USA, many years, several leagues and tournaments with the short format have become popular.
While the climate for year long cricket is certainly not conducive to Chicago, there are enough clubs and interested cricketers in the windy city to garner attention for this sport. Suburban population of folks from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka is increasing rapidly and would certainly justify the creation of a new cricket stadium in Hanover Park, Illinois.
At the ground-breaking ceremony of this cricket project on Saturday, April 6, 2019, enthusiastic members of the Midwest Cricket Conference welcomed the crowd. Mayor of Hanover Park, Mr. Rodney S. Craig, initially welcomed his staff and thanked them for their involvement in this ambitious project. Speaking to HiINDiA, Mr. Craig said, “it is an amazing day for the village of Hanover Park. This has been a dream of the South Asian community. My staff has worked with Shiraz Najam, MAQ and his team mates to make this work.”
Shiraz Najam, President of Midwest Cricket Conference, diligently took his time to thank all of the invited guests at the inauguration of this concept in Hanover Park. Around 20 acres of land will be provided for building this modern cricket facility. Details of the cricket facility are not fully forthcoming at this time. For now, clean-up of the area will be undertaken and construction will hopefully start in a few months from now.
Chirag Patel has been Shiraz’s able ally in this project. Shiraz thanked the Mayor of Hanover Park for joining hands in this major endeavor for the cricket loving community. Shiraz commented, “One needs a vision and then resources for any project’s success.” He added,” I would like extend my sincere thanks to MAQ and Mr. Amin Markatia.”
Cricket administrator and businessman, Mahammad “Maq” Qureshi has been largely instrumental in helping with project. His enterprising attitude and infusion of dollars in this project certainly has propelled this concept favorably. Through his cricket sponsorship and vision, he has been making strides for the promotion of cricket in the United States. He is also CEO and Founder of CCUSA – Cricket Council United States of America. Mahammad Qureshi has been the mastermind behind this project and speaking to HiINDiA said,” I had always thought of some international level stadium in Chicago. I want to thank the mayor of Hanover Park Mr. Rodney S. Craig for joining hands with us. We have worked long and hard to make this a reality and it fills me with great pride that we can finally have a home for cricket in Chicago.”
Indian community leaders like Sunil Shah, Neil Khot, and Heena Trivedi were also spotted during this event. Speaking to HiINDiA, they collectively shared a common sentiment of the importance of a cricket stadium. They all felt that this will bring the communities together and promote cricket in the Midwest. Several dignitaries from the Pakistani community were also present in support of this event.
Saturday, April 6, 2019 will go down in history books as a day when cricket in the Midwest took a mega step. Hopefully, in the near future, this venue will be able to host international matches.
In Hanover Park, cricket emerged the winner today.