Weekly sports wrap-up: From Uri attack condemnation to India's 250th Test at home
Here is our weekly sports wrap for September 26 to October 2, 2016.
No India-Pakistan cricket
Indeed an eventful sporting week. With escalating tension between India and Pakistan after the Uri attack and the subsequent "surgical strike", cricket once again became one of the focal points in the troubled India-Pakistan relationship.
Considering its popularity in both countries, cricket has always been the preferred platform for either side to put across their perspectives on a global arena. Thus came the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Anurag Thakur's comment on Indo-Pak cricket relationship.
In reaction to the recent Uri attack, Thakur not only wanted the bilateral series to be stopped, but also requested the International Cricket Council (ICC) to not put India and Pakistan in same group of any global tournament.
Besides, the unwanted events at the border also forced the sporting stars to come out and issue statements, both wise and unwarranted. BCCI's stand was supported by the badminton body. And it was reported that Pakistan will not be invited for the 2016 Kabaddi Word Cup to be held in Ahmedabad later this month.
250th Test for India at home
India continued to celebrate historic moments with 250th Test at home. After Day 3's play at Eden Gardens, India were in prime position to take a decisive 2-0 lead over New Zealand in the three-match series. Before the Kolkata Test, India played their 500th Test at Kanpur, and celebrated the occasion with a convincing win over the Kiwis.
To mark the occasion, the Sourav Ganguly-led Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has organised a felicitation program at the Eden Gardens. The historic stadium was also set-up with a bell, rung for India's 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev before the start of Day 1's play.
Continuing with cricket, the ongoing tussle between the BCCI and the Lodha Committee reached a tipping point with the Indian board failing to implement all the recommendations made by the Supreme Court appointed panel. In one ugly episode, Chief Justice TS Thakur warned BCCI to either "fall in line" or face the music.
City anti-climax and Wenger's 20th anniversary
In football, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City continued to rule only to see an anti-climax on Super Sunday. After their uncharacteristic 3-3 draw with Celtic in a UEFA Champions League match, the Citizens tasted defeat at the hands of Tottenham.
The league in England also witnessed Frenchman Arsene Wenger completing his 20 years of association with Arsenal. And interestingly, Gunners celebrated the occasion with a deserving, history changing London derby win over Chelsea. And marking the 20th anniversary, Arsenal beat a spirited Burnley side on Sunday.
Football stays relevant in India
Continuing with football, burgeoning Indian Super League (ISL) kicked-off the third season with fanfare at Guwahati on Saturday. With lots of football action happening in the country, including a visit from the Gianni Infantino and the hectic preparation for the next year's U-17 World Cup, the 2016 edition might well be just the perfect event to keep everyone's interest alive.
Infantino interestingly described India as the "passionate giant" of football. That certainly means, India have covered some distance. It was "Sleeping Giants" for Sepp Blatter, now it has become "Passionate" for Infantino.
Talking about age-group football, India U-16 team impressed everyone but failed to make the knock-out stage in the 2016 AFC tournament at home.
Keeping the Indian football interest alive offshore is Aditi Chauhan. The West Ham Ladies goalie was the star in their win over Swindon Town with three penalty saves.
Hockey continues to resonate nationalistic feelings
In hockey, Indian colts won second continental trophy defeating hosts Bangladesh in the final. But the highlight, for many, was the win over arch-rivals Pakistan in the semis. Home Minister Rajnath Singh was specially pleased with the result, and invoked the wordsmith in him to tweet “India's U-18 hockey team registers victory in Asia Cup semi-final with surgical precision”, yes referring the "surgical strike".
The Indian senior team will play Pakistan on October 23 in the Asian Champions Trophy in Malaysia, and captain and goalie PR Sreejesh has vowed that his team will give its all to beat the neighbours.
Sepang shock for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton
Shocking it may sound, Daniel Ricciardo won the Malaysian Grand Prix for a Red Bull one-two, ahead of Max Verstappen. It's only the second time, a non-Mercedes driver winning a race this season. Belgian-Dutch teen Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix.
Pole sitter and title contender Lewis Hamilton retired after engine trouble, and it gave conspiracy theorist who claimed that Mercedes want Nico Rosberg to win the title more ammunition.
Golf's greatest show
United States recaptured the Ryder Cup, their most decisive triumph since 1981.
And here's our picks of the week:
Tweet of the week
Rajnath Singh on hockey and surgical strike
India's U-18 hockey team registers victory in Asia Cup semi-final with surgical precision. Congratulations to the boys on making India proud
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 29, 2016
Image of the week
Kapil Dev rings bell at Eden Gardens
Match of the week
Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 0 Manchester City
Star of the week
Aditi Chauhan, West Ham Ladies goalie