Mar 22, 2023 - Sports

Chicago's cricket players go national

Calvin Savage (left) will play for Texas' Major League Cricket team. Photo: Courtesy of Major League Cricket

Cricket has been popular among Chicago's immigrant communities for generations, but our local talent will finally play on the national stage this summer, writes Axios' Naheed Rajwani-Dharsi.

Driving the news: Calvin Savage and Saad Ali from the Chicago area were drafted by the Texas Super Kings and DC Freedom over the weekend to compete in the new Major League Cricket.

Why it matters: Though cricket is one of the most watched sports internationally, Major League Cricket is the latest and largest attempt to popularize the sport in the U.S.

  • Chicago won't be one of the league's first six franchises, but we hope our local talent will help generate demand for a local team.

State of play: Major League Cricket will start its inaugural season on July 13, with six franchises representing Seattle, LA, San Francisco, New York, Texas and Washington, D.C.

  • "There's been a lot of talk about international cricket coming to America. It's coming together at the right time," said Stephen Fleming, a former New Zealand cricketer who will coach the Texas team.

Zoom in: Savage didn't know anyone in Chicago when he moved here from South Africa in 2021 to pursue a cricket career in the U.S.

  • After coaching at the Chicago Youth Cricket Academy and playing on the minor league Chicago Tigers team, he's made many cricket-loving friends.
  • "It's like nothing I had ever seen before. Coming from South Africa, there is more cricket in Chicago that you can play," he tells Axios. "You can play every single night of the week."

What's next: Savage says his wife and two children plan to stay in Wauconda while he trains in Texas.

  • "The amount of help and gratitude that people within the cricketing circles of Chicago have shown toward me is incredible," he says. "I don't want to leave Chicago. My family and I love living there."

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