The authors of a new book on cricket in the Pacific say the grassroots version of the game is thriving in a region more known for its love of rugby.

'An Ocean of Cricket', by Adam Cassidy, from ICC East Asia Pacific, and his father, ABC Insiders host Barrie Cassidy, charts the popularity of cricket in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa.

Adam Cassidy has told Pacific Beat in some areas, such as Lau in Fiji, every village has to have a church and a cricket pitch.

"Part of [the book] is just capturing what village life is like in those areas," he said.

"But from the cricket perspective, it is that say in rugby-obsessed Fiji or football-obsessed Vanuatu, there are these little pockets where cricket is an obsession - and not unlike where it would be an obsession in India.

"Not only is it an obsession, they're actually generating genuinely good cricketers."

Barrie Cassidy says the lack of equipment and the challenges of finding adequate pitches brings the game back to basics.

"If there's one thing that comes through in the whole book, it's the sheer joy of cricket," he said.

"You see it in the pictures and on the faces of the kids.

"It brings cricket right back to the basics - cricket these days is so professional - I think too professional for some - and this brings it back to the school ground cricket we played in the streets growing up.

Cricket in the Pacific is also seen as an important tool for social development, particularly for women, who make up almost half of the region's players.

Barrie Cassidy says for many of the islands, there's always been a dimension of using the game to address social issues.

"The prime minister at the time, Ratu Kamisese Mara had this view that rugby inspired aggression and violence and it might be better if they adopted a more sanguine game like cricket," he said.

"Even in some of those islands in Papua New Guinea, going back many, many years, there was real conflict between the islands, and yet cricket brought them together, whereas rugby, being a more aggressive game, tended to draw them apart.

"So there's that sort of social development through cricket, that it is a very good sport in terms of uniting islands."

The Pacific has also given birth to its own unique form of cricket, Kilikiti, which originated in Samoa.

Adam Cassidy the global rise of Twenty20 cricket is pushing many Pacific players back to Kilikiti - in which players aren't allowed to block the ball.

"There's lots of different rules - like if it passes over a chief's grave, it's five runs...there's lots of singing, and sledging is actually considered part of the game.

"Talking to a lot of Samoans...one of the reasons they weren't interested in getting involved in English cricket, which they called 'palagi' cricket, was because you weren't really allowed to sledge - and they just loved the sledging aspect of that game."

"Some reports suggest that the only rule is that there's no rules - I think it's sort of made up on the day."