David Cameron vows to teach cricket to Barack Obama

The invitation to the cricket match on Wednesday came a day after Barack Obama (R) took David Cameron, who is on a State visit to the US, to Dayton in Illinois to watch a basketball game Getty Images

By Lalit K Jha

Washington: Mar 15, 2012

Visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron went in for “cricket diplomacy” as he invited US President Barack Obama to a cricket match, but kept the latter guessing whether it will be the limited over games or the five-day Test match.

The invitation to the cricket match on Wednesday came a day after Obama took Cameron, who is on a State visit to the US, to Dayton in Illinois to watch a basketball game.

“One of these days, I’ll get my own back by getting you to a cricket match and explaining the rules to you and some of the terminology that you’ll have to try and get straight, as I tried last night,” Cameroon told Obama in front of the White House press corps and travelling British journalists.

But as the news conference at the Rose Garden went along, a British journalist was quick to remind the President what Cameroon did not inform him about.

“Mr President, this is great you’ve agreed to learn about cricket. I notice the Prime Minister neglected to tell you that a Test match usually takes five days. So it’s going to be a long trip,” commented Tom Bradby from Britain’s ITN news channel.

This followed a round of laughter from the press corps and the two leaders. This was not the end of it. Cricket did figure up in the Cameron’s remarks during the State Dinner at the White House last night.

“Now, Michelle, I’m sure that, like Sam, you often wonder what happens when your husband goes for a night out with the guys. So maybe I should come clean about last night. We went to basketball and we had a real man-to-man chat. Barack tried to confuse me by talking about bracketology but I got my own back by running him gently through the rules of cricket,” Cameron said amidst several rounds of laughter.

“The truth is we have to have a guys’ night out because so often we find we are completely overshadowed by our beautiful wives,” said the British Prime Minister.

Indeed, the two leaders have been engaged in sports diplomacy for quite some time now and the two enjoy it.

“I know there has been a lot of focus on last night’s game. Some have asked how it came about, so I want to set the record straight,” Obama said.

The president said: “During my visit to London last year, David arranged for us to play some local students table tennis. As they would say in Britain, we got thrashed.”

“So when it came to sports on this visit, I thought it would be better if we just watched. That said, I’m still trying to get David to fill out his bracket,” Obama said.

Cameron thanked Obama for inviting him to the basketball match. “Thank you very much for that, Barack, and thank you for last night’s sporting event. I thought there was a link between that and the table tennis. I remember it well.

“Because I know America doesn’t like being on the losing side, I’m trying to make up to you with the gift of a table tennis table, which I hope will be there in the White House so,” Cameron said as Obama interrupted in between: “We should practice this afternoon”.

“I think — well, I certainly need — I certainly need the practice,” Cameron said as he threw up the invitation of cricket match to Obama. (PTI)