Home > Features > Moments in history >

American President Dwight Eisenhower watches Test cricket

American President watches Test match cricket

Dwight Eisenhower. © Getty Images

On December 8, 1959, a day of the drabbest cricketing action in Karachi, Dwight Eisenhower became the first American President to watch Test cricket. Arunabha Sengupta revisits the historical event that took place exactly 53 years ago.

It was a monumental bore of a Test match.

Pakistan took first strike and took eight hours and 48 minutes to crawl to 287.

There was some enterprise shown by Australia, but they had to bank on batting well down to number eleven. Alan Davidson batted at No 10 and Ray Lindwall walked in as last man, and the two of them added 50 for the last wicket. The visitors finished 30 runs short of the Pakistan total. Intikhab Alam created history by bowling Colin McDonald with his first ball in Test cricket.

Pakistan ended the third day having just started their second innings.

December 8, 1959, has gone down as a red letter day in the history of Test cricket. The previous year, the American President Dwight ‘Ike’ Eisenhower had sent 15,000 US troops to Lebanon to prevent the pro-Western government from falling to a Gamal Abdel Nasser- inspired revolution. The year 1959 had also been busy. A few days earlier, he had been aboard the maiden flight of Air Force One, which replaced the previous Presidential aircraft, the Columbine. The year had also seen him add Alaska and Hawaii as the 49th and 50th states to the proud nation.

Eisenhower, an avid golfer and a fishing enthusiast to boot, now sat in the VIP stands of the Karachi National Stadium, watching the fourth day’s play between Australia and Pakistan. Never before had an American President watched Test cricket.

Unfortunately, the cricket on offer that day was anything but watchable. Coming back after the rest day, Pakistan painstakingly crawled through three sessions, scoring 104 measly runs for the loss of five wickets. It was sheer torture to watch, with Hanif Mohammad batting most of the day to remain unbeaten on 40. The next day, the colossal yawn of a match petered out to a draw, Hanif getting to an unbeaten 101 in six hours.

But, perhaps Mr. President knew too little about the game. On the excruciatingly slow fourth day, he was seen cheering the rare attacking strokes and clapping loudly for every decent effort in the field.
However, we may be wrong. Perhaps in the classified files of the State there exists some secret document which can throw light on why the game has not really caught on in the United States.

Perhaps on his return, Dwight Eisenhower summoned his advisers and formed a crack team of special operatives, whose sole mission was to ensure that the game played at such glacial pace would never threaten the national image of dynamism and progress. Perhaps this secret agency is still active, ensuring that the American citizens are protected from the prolonged plight that their 34th President had been subjected to on that fateful December day.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014  at Bengaluru

Chennai Super Kings won by 54 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

Photos

KXIP vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 2 CLT20 2014

Videos

Kane, Devcich praise each others knock

Live Cricket Score Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 Match 8: CSK romp home by 54 runs

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Key Battles

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: CSK’s likely XI

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Dolphins’ likely XI

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kuldeep Yadav’s dramatic debut for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) shows he is one for the future

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins Hobart Hurricanes Incheon Asian Games India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Lahore Lions

Mitchell Marsh: I thought that the match was tied against Dolphins

Usain Bolt picks Shane Warne over Sachin Tendulkar

Anandji Dossa passes away

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) romp to 54-run win against Dolphins in CLT20 2014 Match 8 at Bangalore

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 Match 8 at Bengaluru: Vaughn van Jaarsveld dismissed

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Highlights

List of highest innings’ totals in CLT20 and overall T20 cricket

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Key Battles

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: CSK’s likely XI

Jalaluddin takes first ODI hat-trick

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

670 Posts | 6 Fans

CLT20 2014: Kings Xi Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, final over

Mitchell Marsh: I thought that the match was tied against Dolphins

International programme in Animal Husbandry

NGOs pursue education for all

Microsoft’s Xbox One launched in India, prices start from Rs 39,990

Is having leaky breasts during pregnancy normal?

Why green gram or moong dal is good for health

The New York Times’ Investigation (or Inquisition?) of Narendra Modi

Kajol at the United Nations headquarters-View pic!

Apple iPhone 5S now available for less that Rs 35,000 on Indian e-commerce sites

Savvy Superfoods Straight from your Mom’s Kitchen

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here