Last week was long.
It was good.
There wasn't enough room in it for much more than cricket.
Even five days after the event, all I'm left with are a few random thoughts. Here are a few of them.
The Ross Taylor Exit Strategy
Can't think of a person anywhere in the cricket world that would have begrudged Ross Taylor hitting the winning runs in a World Test Championship final.
A mere 108 tests after he first took strike, there are many who believe it could, maybe even should, be the perfect fullstop on his test career.
It's an interesting poser but I think he has one more number in mind before he calls time on his test career: 113, or perhaps 114.
Taylor likes numbers. He has unashamedly used them for motivation as his career has progressed, much like his late mentor Martin Crowe did. One of his primary goals was to go past Crowe's record of 17 test centuries.
He has fair sailed past most New Zealand batting records but his career has also happened to overlap with the greatest test batsman this country has produced. There is a part of Taylor that knows that whatever records he sets, Williamson – who ironically does not care one bit for stats – will put into the rearview sooner rather than later.
To retire as the most-capped New Zealand cricketer, that would be a nice way to go. To do it in front of an adoring home crowd – you imagine that'd be something ticking away in the 37-year-old's mind.
Taylor needs to play five tests to have played the most tests for New Zealand, six tests to become the New Zealander with the most test caps. If that sounds a bit confusing, it's because Daniel Vettori played 113 tests, but just 112 for the Black Caps, the other for a World XI.
It's not a great home test programme next summer if we're being brutally honest – a Taylor farewell party might be a decent way to spice it up but…
It's not Gary Stead's job to be sentimental. He might view the start of the new WTC cycle as the perfect time to bed in the batting order that will take him through to the end of the cycle. That could feature Will Young and/or Daryl Mitchell, both of whom look ready for test cricket in the limited opportunities they have had.
Test cricket can be a ruthless business. Just because we want a Taylor feel-good finish does not necessarily mean we'll get it – unless we've seen it already.
The WTC concept moving forward
Even hard-bitten former Australia batsman Mark Waugh described it as a "brilliant innovation" and looked forward to it getting bigger and better.
Players like BJ Watling and Neil Wagner, red ball specialists, talked about how much it meant to them to have context around their efforts beyond the rankings.
We can all probably agree that the concept needs tweaking, though it has to be remembered that some of the angst comes with the fact the inaugural cycle coincided with a global pandemic.
Some of the tweaks might include:
Just two to three tests counting towards the WTC points in marquee series (so in this year's Ashes, for example, the second, third and fourth tests count for the WTC, the first and fifth are Ashes test only);
The top-qualifying team hosting the final under supervision from an independent panel of curators to try to ensure fair conditions for both teams;
A three-test series final.
There are problems to be found with most scenarios. For example, squeezing a three-test window into an already crowded schedule when you're not sure in advance who the two teams are will be incredibly tricky. India's players were unhappy about the scheduling for this one-off final; imagine how they would have felt about three.
It is also much easier to have a fixed venue and date for a final than it is to tailor a schedule for a home venue when you might not find out what that home was until late in the piece. Again, as an example, if New Zealand finished as top qualifier, we have the shortest playing window, the least friendly broadcast time zones and a relatively small commercial market, so that is something the ICC is sure to want to avoid.
All told, however, the concept was a winner, the mace is a fantastic trophy and it should be here to stay.
New Zealand to play longer test series at home
They're the world test champions, so shouldn't they start to play as much as the self-styled Big Three?
The answer to this question might involve a lot of talking out the sides of mouths.
All the right noises will be made but expect that to be followed by schedules with your classic early season, late-season two-test series with a whole bunch of white-ball cricket in between.
Unless the visitors are India, New Zealand Cricket cannot make money hosting test cricket, but they can spend a lot of money on it.
While most fans recognise tests as the pinnacle, while players and administrators call it the pinnacle, it remains largely unattractive for broadcasters and actual paying spectators.
Certainly some of the latter comes down to scheduling: the crowds at Bay and Hagley Oval for the holiday period test series against Pakistan were very good by test-match standards, but the simple truth is NZC could have made a lot more money while spending a lot less if they played a different format over the same period.
It's irritating and in many ways unpalatable, but unless they can find new revenue streams for the "pinnacle" format, it's hard to see New Zealand hosting much more than they do now.
That doesn't stop Australia, India and England inviting us for longer series, though the first two might ask why they would do that given the Black Caps record in those countries.
Perhaps we should embrace the idea that New Zealand is the best little boutique test-playing nation in the world.
The Mace is ace and has a far richer history than most us realised, if you listen to Neil Wagner.
"I remember watching as a kid a lot of other teams lifting that [mace] up after finishing a test cycle being No 1 in the world and what it meant to them. So, to be able to win it in a one-off test match like that is a pretty special feeling and we could see what it meant to other people once you got home."
I've watched a lot of cricket for a long time now and was only vaguely aware of its existence until the past few years, so more fool me.
From where I was sitting, Paine's comments that India would win quite comfortably if they played up to their potential were not even that provocative. Look at his position. In consecutive seasons he's seen a full-of-confidence, full-strength New Zealand arrive and barely land a jab, then seen a severely weakened India side beat his own in a phenomenal display. He had every right, and plenty of inside knowledge, to make that call.
Where's he's a "winner", however, is having the gumption to agree to an interview in New Zealand knowing exactly that his specialist subject was expected to be humble pie, and playing the game. There are plenty of things encoded into Australia's cricket DNA that are hard for outsiders to warm to – their current captain is not one of them.
Max Verstappen & Lewis Hamilton
Formula One needed this rivalry. Two super-quick drivers at the opposite ends of their careers driving rival machinery. The next couple of years before Hamilton steps away could be special.
One of the ultimate State of Origin disappearing acts. Two home matches, two drubbings. By the end of last night's game two, the whole exercise felt pointless, in every respect.
Cannot claim this as my own inspiration but a trusted spotter noted that of the 100 goals at the Euros, none have come from a free-kick (not to be confused with a penalty). Surprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo has been fingered as the worst culprit, having scored with just one free-kick in 53 attempts at major tournaments.
For those who live for "the" debate, it is worth noting Lionel Messi scored a cracker for Argentina against Chile t'other day.
Keys & Gray
Another thing my football spotter noted was the appalling punditry served up by BeIN hosts Richard Keys and Andy Gray, who he described as being akin to obnoxiously drunk uncles passing off banal observations as analysis and labouring under the belief that it is the pundit that people pay to watch.
Admittedly, my dalliances with Euros buildup have been few and far between, but on the couple of occasions I have watched, I'm fully on board with that assessment.
This moving piece from New York Knicks small forward Reggie Bullock is all over the place, at times pointed and at others directionless. It is all the better for it. From The Players' Tribune.
This Greg Baum piece couldn't have been written by a New Zealander, but I'm glad it was written anyway. It has a couple of paragraphs where you just go, "damn, wish I'd written that". From the SMH.