Osman Samiuddin looks back on the week that was in sport, and all the pleasant sights that it threw our way.
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1. Best celebration: Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook became the first Englishman and the youngest player ever to reach 10,000 Test runs in England’s second-Test win over Sri Lanka. It was a big moment, with some gravitas: Cook a modern great, in the format revered the most in the country. So what Ben Stokes was doing applauding the moment on the players’ balcony in green boxer shorts and no trousers? He was on home territory granted, but it had been freezing all week long in Durham.
2. Cruelest cut: European Cup
Take your pick from Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone or Antoine Griezmann about whom you should feel most sorry for. Sure Atletico, now twice Uefa Champions League runners-up in three years. Simeone, too, managing them through both with all that fire and passion, and for what? The damp squib of a failed penalty shoot-out? Our choice is Griezmann, who, was least deserving of missing the penalty that cost Atletico.
3. Best spat: Cantona v Deshamps
Eric Cantona and Didier Deschamps probably do not send each other Christmas cards, not after Cantona famously dismissed Deschamps as a “water carrier”. But there will soon be something in Cantona’s mailbox from Deschamps soon: a legal notice. This is in response to Cantona suggesting that racism was at the root of Deschamps’s decision to leave out Karim Benzema and Hatim ben Arfa from France’s Euros squad. Cantona is famously stubborn so best grab your popcorn and a seat – this could go on.
4. Least surprising: ICC ritual
The International Cricket Council (ICC) released its schedule for the 2017 Champions Trophy. And lo and behold, the defending champions India begin their tournament by playing Pakistan. This is an ICC ritual – in the absence of bilateral ties, the ICC has taken it upon itself to ensure they play at least once in its major tournaments. It makes sense commercially, of course, but a little randomness in schedules would not hurt.
5. Best singing in the rain: French Open
OK, so Wimbledon now has a retractable roof but remember the days when the tournament was permanently hostage to England’s rain? If you had forgotten, Roland Garros has been on hand to remind you. Entire days have been washed away, causing a scheduling crush as well as anger. Like Agnieszka Radwanksa, the No 2 seed who lost a rain-disrupted three-setter: “I’m just so surprised and angry that we have to play in the rain. I mean it’s not a $10,000 [Dh36,730] tournament. It’s a grand slam.” Ouch.