Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features > Moments in history >

American President watches Test match 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)

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 72 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Chennai Super Kings won by 93 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014  at Dubai

Delhi Daredevils won by 4 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014  at Dubai

Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 7 wkts

Photos

CSK vs DD, IPL 2014 Match 8 at Abu Dhabi

Videos

IPL: Tanmay Mishra talks shows the contents of his kit

Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Live Cricket Score IPL 2014: CSK openers off to brisk start

Who else but Shakespeare on the World Book and Copyright Day?

IPL 2013: Shane Watson’s scintillating century against Chennai Super Kings goes in vain

John Small — The first man to use a straight bat

IPL 2014: Dwayne Bravo’s absence a major blow for Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils Glenn Maxwell India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab KXIP vs SRH KXIP vs SRH 2014 MS Dhoni Mumbai Indians Rajasthan Royals Royal Challengers Bangalore Sunrisers Hyderabad

Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) IPL 2014: CSK 20/0 after 4 overs

Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings IPL 2014 Match 10: CSK 8/0 after 2 overs

Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Free Live Streaming Online IPL 2014

Live Cricket Score IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) match 10 of IPL 7 at Dubai

Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Live Scorecard IPL 2014: Match 10 of IPL 7 at Dubai

Meg Lanning, Arran Brindle and other women cricketers who have led at a younger age than ther male counterparts

IPL 2013: Chris Gayle’s monumental 175 against Pune Warriors India

Aditya Verma waging war against BCCI for future of Bihar cricket

IPL 2014: Sunrisers Hyderabad need to have a relook at their top-heavy batting line-up

Hasan Raza: The youngest Test debutant

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

622 Posts | 7 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli's 77 during India vs Sri Lanka ICC World T20 2014 final at Dhaka

Arvind Kejriwal and wife declare assets worth over Rs 2 crore

Anupam Kher and Rakesh Sharma’s war of words on Modi and Gujarat riots documentary intensifies!

Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings IPL 2014 Match 10: CSK 8/0 after 2 overs

Drew Barrymore and husband welcome second child – a baby girl! Watch video

Google Street View now lets users go back in time

Amazon takes on Flipkart, offers self service registration to sellers

Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) IPL 2014:

Sangram Singh to host a show on Channel V

Also on cricketcountry.com