Spectator sport

Ten questions of sport

10 December 2016

9:00 AM

10 December 2016

9:00 AM

1. Can anyone explain why England wore dark blue, not white, for the autumn international against Argentina, just as they did against Fiji? Is there anybody in the whole country, other than the marketing department at the Rugby Football Union, who thinks it is a good idea to change England shirts for no other reason than to fleece the public whose children might want to wear one? Why don’t England stick to their proper colours: would the Springboks change, or Australia, or would the All Blacks become the All Purples? Seven different shirts in two years! Come off it.

2. Is the ongoing spat between Ben Stokes and Virat Kohli the only really competitive element in the current Test series between England and India? Stokes is a magnificent player but his mouthiness does him no favours. And he is bound to lose out to Kohli, who has become quite majestic: the Indian captain is the height of cool, effortless in interviews, and playing cricket like the best kid in school. Arrogant, assured, aggressive, winner of the batting prize and captain of the Xl, and really unpopular unless he’s on your team. Still, at least Stokes goes for a pint with the boys: Kohli goes for a net and thinks everyone should do the same.

3. Is anyone having as much fun as Antonio Conte and Chelsea during the week? While all their main rivals toil in European competition, John Terry and the boys have time for a bit of winter sun, UAE-style. Still, if they have got any sense they will get knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round and have the Premier League wrapped up in April.

4. Who else but one of the most competitive men on the planet would have the cojones that Lewis Hamilton showed in the last race of the season, risking victory trying to force his rival and teammate Nico Rosberg back to fourth place? Lewis might not be the most adored ex-champion in history (there’s a bit too much channelling of his inner gangsta for that) but only an extraordinarily skilful driver would have dared to win by driving so slowly that his rivals would overtake Rosberg in second. ‘Very clevah!’ as Fred Perry used to say. Didn’t work though, but good for Lewis for trying. He didn’t want to give up that championship for anything!

5. How long will Andy Murray stay on top of the world while continuing to sound as happy as a man whose missus has just come back from the laundrette having found a 50p piece left in the slot? We love you Andy but can you, just sometimes, lighten up?
6. Will football ever get the govern-ing body it needs — either a reformed, squeaky-clean Fifa or a new body altogether? And given those old rogues Platini and Blatter, can Fifa ever get free of the whiff of corruption? And when will the FA have the grace to make amends to Sam Allardyce for the craven way in which they dismissed him on the say-so of a very dubious newspaper sting operation? Whatever you think of Big Sam, this was a shoddy, shabby piece of behaviour by the game’s rulers.

7. What part of the world will Australia have to arrange a cricket Test series against to be sure of winning? Thailand? Ecuador? Nobody likes to see an Aussie cricket side put to the sword, but one would not be doing one’s duty if one didn’t point out they have lost five of their last six Tests, mostly by colossal margins.

8. Will José Mourinho ever grow up, having been stuck in a state of perma-scowling adolescence for 40 years or so?

9. How long can A Question of Sport, much as I love it, soldier on before recognising that it is about as current as Juke Box Jury? On the other hand, maybe we should bring that back.
10. Will Donald Trump promise Nicola Sturgeon to rebuild ‘the beau-diful wall that guy Hadrian put up’ if she lays off complaining about his golf courses? 


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