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Cricket Cracks New York Public Schools

For those of us who grew up with the American pastime of baseball, cricket can be a confusing game. For immigrants from places like Guyana, the Caribbean islands, India and Pakistan, cricket is a way of life. "I was born in India, I've been playing for a long time," says Sohom Datta, a senior at Stuyvesant High School who helped start his school's cricket team.

But when families move to the United States, kids end up playing American sports like basketball and football in school.

"My favorite quote about that is that when Indian kids come to Britain, they're still cricket crazy. When they go to America, they forget about cricket," says Datta. "That stuck with me."

That is quickly changing. The New York Department of Education introduced cricket into the public school system and the response was tremendous. It's only the first season, but the varsity league is already in full swing. Teams signed up from Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.

As in baseball, there are bats and balls, but no bases to be found. Instead, the batters run back and forth between "stumps." The pitchers are called "bowlers." They try to knock little wooden "bails" off the "wickets" — three wooden sticks stuck in the ground.

Several kids in the league have never played before, but they say they're having blast learning an unconventional sport.