Once upon a time, the English ran the game of cricket. The time had come for the game to expand beyond three Test playing nations, and the then Imperial Cricketing Council made its decision - not for arguably the best of the non-Test playing nations, but for a side that wasn't a nation but a confederation of parts of the Empire. So the West Indies, then a white-dominated side, started playing Test cricket, and the US didn't.
Perhaps if the Americans had been let in they would have continued to play at the high level - you could imagine the Ivy League universities fielding teams, with top players from Philadelphia and New York also making the Test side. But the fear of the ICC that if the Yanks were let in they might take over may well have helped the sport slide into obscurity in the US.
Fast forward eighty years. Eric Goldstein, chief executive for school support services and overseer of the sports programs for the Department of Education in New York decides to add a new sport to the official public school leagues, one that will appeal to the large Asian and Caribbean immigrant community - cricket. He expects four teams to be possible. He gets fourteen.
Story in the NY Times