First Fresno County cricket pitch opens at Madison Elementary

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Central Unified students broke out both bats and balls today, for a sport you might not expect.

Fresno County's very first cricket pitch is officially open to the public at Madison Elementary.

"We have families from India, Pakistan, Europe and cricket is part of their world," said Madison Elementary Principal Christine Pennington. "For us to be able to provide that for these families is amazing."

The Fresno Cricket Club has been advocating for a cricket pitch for over three years, thanks to Central Unified it's finally happening. The pitch will serve dual purposes, providing both an educational opportunity for Central Unified students and a past time for the community.

"Cricket is the second biggest sport in the world, yet it doesn't have a home in Fresno and it's played a lot," said Fresno Cricket Club President Baldev Birk.

For many students across the district, cricket is a familiar favorite for others, it's a new experience that the district hopes to encourage.

"For some of our students, this will be something new to them and they're going to be very excited about it," added Pennington.

The Fresno Cricket Club is just one group that plans to utilize the pitch.

"There are already 12 games planned for the rest of the summer," said Baldev. "We'll be out here on Saturdays playing, so it's open to the community. After school, anyone can come out and play here if they want to."

For the past several years, the group has been traveling to different areas to play.

"The league we play is in the Bay Area because there's just not enough space to host in Fresno," said Baldev.

The pitch is located next to the Madison Elementary soccer field on South Brawley Avenue. The project cost $10,000 and was funded by the district.

Students at Madison Elementary School will be utilizing the field on a daily basis. Plus the Fresno Cricket Club already has plans for the pitch. They'll be playing their first game there on Saturday April 23rd .
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