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Asked how he felt about literary prizes, Kingsley Amis once said, Well, theyre all right if you win. Sale Air Max 2018 . Its easy to imagine the group of teams circling around the top of the ICC Test match rankings feeling the same. Like literary prizes, the criteria for victory seems arbitrary and hard to understand, and anyway the best - its subjective, isnt it?We dont need algorithms to tell us when a truly great team emerges. The West Indies of the late 1970s and early 80s and the Australian dynasties that succeeded them didnt need a mace and a cheque to validate their efforts. Their greatness bestowed itself upon the game, their defeats in some strange way more memorable than their victories; rare, valiant proof that they were (sometimes) human. Did anyone care about rankings as they watched India play Australia in 2001, or the Ashes of 2005? No, they did not. The battle itself was the thing, and it needed no further context.We live now in less certain times. Has there been a sadder sight than West Indies playing India in a four-Test series before almost no one, the great Viv Richards commentating on a mismatch in an empty stadium named after himself, while the last days of the CPL burned onwards towards a packed-out final tie contested by the real stars of Caribbean cricket? It appeared symbolically bad.Around the same time, Pakistan, a team that has not played a home international match since 2009, won a Test at Lords, but then subsided to defeat in the next two games, in Manchester and Birmingham. New Zealand went to Zimbabwe and illustrated the gap between a side in the middle of the rankings and the team at the bottom (Zimbabwe are so far adrift that eight of the other Test-playing nations are closer in points to the No. 1 spot than they are to tenth place). Australia, officially the best, went to Sri Lanka, who had just been roundly beaten in England, and were humiliated. New Zealand hopped on a plane to South Africa and found themselves trying to play a series out of season, as wet as West Indies and India ultimately became.The pivotal moments of these few weeks came at The Oval, when Pakistan, their glorious fervour calmly channelled by the ageless Misbah-ul-Haq, somehow raised themselves up once more and defeated England. Suddenly all of these random, unconnected, bilaterally contracted events had an overarching narrative that could knit them together, and that narrative was the Test match rankings.A few months ago, I wrote a blog about box-set cricket, the way that tournaments like the IPL, the Big Bash and the CPL fit with modern life, fulfilling the urge to binge on one thing for a brief period. Their self-containment seemed like an intrinsic and obvious part of their appeal, as did their comparative rarity - they may appear ubiquitous but each happens only once a year. They contrasted with the sprawling, soap-opera narrative of Test cricket, which didnt have any obvious entry point or definitive conclusion.Thats not necessarily a negative. As the great Gideon Haigh puts it in the documentary Death of a Gentleman, T20 cricket needs something to be shorter than. Test cricket has accompanied me through my life, changing with geological slowness but changing nonetheless, its storylines inexhaustible and self-renewing. And yet something that takes decades to impose its form needs impetus from outside forces, the shock of the new, whether it be Kerry Packer, the driving force of TV money, or the nonsense of the Big Three.By fluke, all of those Test series going on in the last month provided it. This wasnt quite box-set cricket but it was a happy coalescing that made for a compelling story with a wonderful outcome for Pakistan and the game as a whole. How invigorating and inspiring for Test cricket to have a team at No. 1 that has never been there before, and that has fought almost overwhelming odds to do so.But it has happened by chance. The rambling, unfocused ranking system cant claim credit, or to have solved the problem of giving narrative shape to the uncoordinated, top-heavy mess that is the Future Tours Programme.It is not a Test championship and it cant address the gap between the top teams and the bottom, which suggests a two-division system may work better. It doesnt provide more regular cricket, or a ladder up for, whisper it, more Test playing nations.Instead, it is proof that this endlessly unfolding story can have its way stations, points at which we stop and reset and allow someone to take in the view from the top. As Misbah put it this week, For us, the No. 1 ranking is not a destination but part of a journey.At the grand old age of 64, and with his 17th novel The Old Devils, Amis finally won something - the big one, in fact - the Booker Prize. His surprise and delight were genuine, and the greater for having waited so long. Amis drank in the moment and the view. Pakistan should enjoy doing the same. For once, their story has been properly and spectacularly framed. Cheap Air Max 90 Shoes . Robredo, ranked No. 16, bounced back from an upset loss to Leonardo Mayer in the second round of the Royal Guard Open in Chile last week to down Carreno Busta in 1 hour, 25 minutes. On a day filled mostly with qualifying matches, fifth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain also entered the second with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 win over Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, while Guido Pella of Argentina defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 7-6 (6), 6-4 to advance. Wholesale Air Max Store . Coach Tom Thibodeau says the former MVP will probably start travelling with the team in the next few weeks. Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the season by the Bulls. . After a replay, the winner will meet Sunderland in the quarterfinals. Sagbo did well to control Sone Alukos right cross and fire past Brighton goalkeeper Peter Brezovan. Aluko was making his first start in four months after recovering from an Achilles injury.Sky Sports News HQ presenter Kirsty Gallacher reflects on a week of fun, drama and big stories during the 80th Masters at Augusta National in a special Q&A with Favourite interview of the week?Id loved the reaction from Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth during the Par 3 competition. One rookie, one defending champion and one world No 5 in the same group, they are really great friends and the atmosphere in their group was fantastic. Rickie Fowler celebrates with Jordan Spieth after matching the ace of Justin Thomas at the fourth It was a really funny, light-hearted interview at the end of a great day for them. Justin and Rickie both had a hole in one on the fourth, the day after Jordan had hosted the traditional Champions Dinner at Augusta, so they all enjoyed time in the spotlight in the Masters build-up.Their reaction to the aces when we watched them on the monitor was memorable, and its always nice to be able to chat to the defending Masters champion the day before the tournament starts.Anything unexpected?I felt a little for Tom Watson when he arrived with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. He started to walk off when they got to me and it was as if he felt he didnt quite belong in that group. Obviously it was a little awkward for him filling in for Arnold Palmer, and the big moment of their day was Garys hole in one at the seventh. Jack had one last year, so Tom was the only member of that trio without an Augusta ace. Tom Watson filled in for Arnold Palmer and played with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player in the Par 3 tournament It was an unexpected scenario, and I felt sorry for Tom afterwards. I felt like I had alienated him a little bit, although jokingly, and Im sure he wont lose any sleep over it!Apart from Danny Willetts victory, what was the best story of the week?Id have to say Bryson DeChambeau. I think hes a real star of the future - I like his style, and the fact he brings something extra to golf with his scientific set-up. Hes also a traditionalist who obviously has enormous respect for the history and etiquette of the game, thats refreshing to see in someone so young. Bryson DeChambeau provided one of the best stories at Augusta He played really well during the week and thoroughly deserved his visit to the Butler Cabin on Sunday after finishing as leading amateur. And what a start he made to his professional career - tied for fourth at the RBC Heritage, thats a huge achievement.Any significant differences at Augusta this year?The most significant difference at Augusta this year was definitely the weather. It was much more chilly than in recent years, and even when weve had some adverse weather in the past, there have still been a couple of days where youre sweltering on the studio floor or at my interview area on the par 3 course. It was much cooler and more blustery at the Masters this year This year the weather was reasonably consistent, but chilly each day and a lot of people likened it to an average English summer rather than traditionall Augusta heat and humidity. Discount Air Max 2018 Online. And it was quite breezy as well, which was reflected in the scoring over the first three days.What were the most shocking Masters moments?I was shocked when I saw Ernie Els taking six putts on the very first hole of his tournament. I felt so bad for him, and he also missed short putts on 17 and 18, so to get round in 80 was actually a pretty good effort considering he started with a nine!That was one of the big talking points and, of course, the other significant moment in the tournament was Jordan Spieth making that seven at the 12th on Sunday. My dad said the winner will be the one that holds his nerve on the back nine in the final round, and he was exactly right. Jordans nerve deserted him for a moment, but Danny Willetts resolve survived the ultimate test over the last couple of hours - he was the man of steel this year. Jordan Spieth saw his five-shot lead disappear in the space of three holes on Sunday Nobody could have predicted Jordans downfall at the 12th. He was not quite on top of his game all week, but his sheer determination allied with his incredible putting skills kept him in front for three and a half days. The pressure got to him at the most famous par-three in golf, although he did well to drag himself back into it with birdies at 13 and 15. But he left himself with too much to do.And the good?The three holes in one at the 16th on Sunday was a new Masters record, and it really got the crowd going for what would prove to be a memorable final day. Shane Lowry was the first to celebrate, then Davis Love III emulated the Irishman. Louis Oosthuizens ace at the 16th was incredible, and the third of the day on that hole But the best of the bunch was Louis Oosthuizens ace, which was just incredible. The way his ball knocked JB Holmes out of the way before dropping into the cup? Im not sure Ive ever seen anything quite like that before.How good a week was it for Europe?I was very proud to see five Englishmen in the top 10, and there were nine Europeans in the top 21 overall. But if you break down the leaderboard by nationality, it is abundantly clear that this years Masters was a brilliant showcase for global golf. Masters champion Danny Willett and Lee Westwood led an impressive English challenge As well as the strong showing from Europe, we had Hideki Matsuyama and Kiradech Aphibarnrat generating interest in Asia, Emiliano Grillo and 2009 champion Angel Cabrera flew the flag for Argentina and both finished in the top 25, Jason Day was the top Aussie and Danny Lees tie for 17th was great for New Zealand golf.And, of course, having all those English and European golfers at the top end of the leaderboard was a huge boost for the Ryder Cup later this year. Darren Clarke would have been delighted to see so many of his prospective players performing so well on such a big stage, and he is certain to have a vast array of talent - both raw and experienced - on his team at Hazeltine. 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