California Dolphin: statewide California news

Around San Ramon: Cricket’s popularity exploding in the valley

There’s a bat and a ball, but there’s also a wicket, a 22-yard pitch and 11-member teams.
“If you build it, they will come.” And on a recent Saturday morning in unseasonably warm weather, that is exactly what was happening at the new cricket field at Windemere Ranch Middle School.
Cricket, which originated in England and is popular in India, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka among other countries, is attracting a lot of interest here in the Tri-Valley as more and more youth and adults are turning to the game that requires a good combination of skill and strength. Kishore Mannuru, of San Ramon, an IT professional during the week, bonds with friends, including Sahadev Vinukonda from Mountain House, on the weekend playing a sport they both grew up playing. Meanwhile, young boys were arriving dressed in white and sky-blue uniforms and heading to the pitch.
According to Satyen Lokanandi, president of the San Ramon Cricket Association (SRCA), there are about 30 adult teams and about 1,500 youth from San Ramon, Pleasanton, Danville and Livermore who are actively participating in what he calls an “intoxicating sport.” It is similar to baseball but is appealing to a broader range of abilities and strengths, he says. Meanwhile adults who played the sport as youths or back in their home countries are finding a revival of a favorite pastime. The SRCA runs a year-round cricket academy, which provides coaching and games for the youth.
The SRCA was founded in 2008 and organizes coaching camps for youth and conducts tournaments. The SRCA also works with coaches to promote the fitness component of the game. It took a San Ramon youth cricket team to compete in India, Sri Lanka and Canada and adds that competing internationally is a wonderful opportunity for middle school students. Giving the youth the opportunity to compete in an international sport only gives them more inspiration to play cricket, says Lokanandi.
San Ramon Parks and Community Services Commissioner Sridhar Verose, also an avid cricket fan, says that many of the adult teams in the area play on softball fields. San Ramon has two cricket fields (at Monarch Park and now Windemere Ranch School Park). “San Ramon is a beacon for other cities” and leading the way for other cities to follow. Dublin’s cricket fields at Emerald Glen Park are situated between two soccer fields.
“San Ramon is the pioneer bringing the program to the Tri-Valley,” says Lokanandi.
“San Ramon is a champion of diversity, inclusiveness and equality,” says Verose, “and this (the popularity of cricket and making cricket fields available) is a testimony to that,” he adds.
The biggest challenge for the game may not be scoring runs off the opponent and hitting the wicket but rather expanding the program and adding enough fields to accommodate all who are interested. Because of the pitch of the cricket field, it can’t just be a part of an existing soccer field but must be mowed and maintained differently. Verose says cricket “is on the radar” of San Ramon’s leadership.
Cricket is another opportunity to encourage kids to get involved in sports, says Lokanandi. “Once they (the kids) get involved, they don’t want to leave.” And, he adds, the sport is less injury-prone. There are girls’ teams as well.
According to Verose, cricket is more than just a sport but is “about a culture” and society. “The social interaction, sharing ideas, helps keep our community vibrant,” he says. This makes the community a safer place.
Lokanandi agrees that the team sport encourages interaction on the field and friendships off the field. Playing cricket, like other sports, also has its benefits: health and wellness, he adds. “We want our population healthy.”
For more information, visit
Contact Monica Lander at

Top News

Ain't No God; don't even think about theism

UnFox News: not a propaganda arm of the Republican party