A Kinder, Gentler Sports Craze

cricket, san francisco, sport, john blackstone

We've all heard about battling Little League parents.

But that just doesn't happen with the kinder and gentler sport that has taken hold in Silicon Valley, California. CBS News correspondent John Blackstone looks into the growing "cricket craze."

Much like the high-tech industry itself, the old British colonial game of cricket has its own mysterious terminology – and a clear determination to build its market share.

"In Silicon Valley, we measure everything in terms of quarter to quarter growth and the academy has grown over 100 percent, so that's for us, a really big success," says Hemant Buch, the founder of the California Cricket Academy.

At the academy, children as young as six years old are passing up soccer and baseball for cricket.

"The bowling, you don't chuck like baseball, you do straight," says six-year-old Mohak Buch.

For the most part, these young cricketers are the American-born children of immigrants from east Asia who work in the tech industry. They've mastered a game whose complexities baffle most Americans.

"There is wicket keeping – it's kind of like catching like a catcher and then there is bowling which is like a pitcher and then there's fielding which is, you know, fielding," explains young wicket keeper Vishal Vaidya.

Now they say their all-American friends are beginning to take an interest too.

"They are like, 'What is cricket?' and I'm like, 'My Indian sport' and they're like, 'Can you tell me about it?' And I'm, 'Okay' but then it's like, 'Why don't they know about cricket? Oh yeah, they only know about baseball and stuff,'" says nine-year-old Mihir Athabale.

But can this genteel sport, that takes a break for tea, ever really catch on here? Enthusiasts point to the huge success of another imported game: soccer. They also claim there are now some 10,000 active cricket players in the U.S.

"There is more involved into it than just scoring runs and stuff. You need to get wickets and good overs and no wides," says 11-year-old Amar Risbud.

It is said the British introduced cricket to the colonies for its civilizing influence. Now a game that the revolution denied to America may be getting a second chance.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com