It's true you know, Barack Obama does want to un-make the United States of America. First he takes a quick cricket lesson from Brian Lara, now he's reading Joseph O'Neill's (splendid) Netherland - a novel that is, at least in part, about cricket in New York City. Could anything be more un-American? Of course not. Except, of course, cricket has a long and proud history in the United States and, for a while, it seemed as likely that cricket would become the national pastime as baseball. Indeed, the world's first international cricket match was contested by teams representing the United States and Canada.
Personally, I blame the decision to move the capital from Philadelphia to Washington DC for cricket's eclipse. Philly, after all, was the home of American cricket and in more fanciful moments I like to think that had it remained the capital then cricket might have become the sport of choice for the republic's political elite when Philadephia cricket was ascendant in the 1850-1910 period. Heck, Abraham Lincoln is said to have attended a match between Chicago and Milwaukee in 1859 and if ever an American President might be thought to have the temperament for cricket it was the old Railsplitter himself.
In its heyday there were more than 100 cricket clubs in Philadelphia. But cricket's moment was brief and after the Civil War the greatest game found itself swamped by the new passion for baseball. Nonetheless, American cricket is probably healthier now than it has been in 80 years. So it's good to see the President doing his bit to bring the United States back into the fold of the English-Speaking Peoples...
Just to be silly*, here's an XI chosen from American Presidents:
1. George Washington - obdurate opening batsman who actually played the game himself.
*If you think this too daft for words then you may be sensible. But I have previous on this sort of caper.