Sport on TV: A great spectacle puts everyone else in the shade

 

Some say the Sky is falling in after BT Sport's hijacking of the Champions' League broadcasting rights. Yet without the satellite platform we might not have seen Sachin Tendulkar's 200th and final Test match (Sky Sports 2, Thursday). They have been faithfully delivering cricket from all corners of the old empire since early 1990, coinciding with all but three months of the Little Master's remarkable 24-year career.

Not all of it has involved England either, far from it. Sky Sports' pundits have got up in the small hours to keep Charles Colvile company and pontificate about Yuvraj Singh and Dale Steyn and even Mpumelelo Mbangwa without batting a heavy eyelid. Cricket-aholics have drunk their fills and spills, and this is their champagne moment.

Certainly in the studio Dominic Cork looked like he was about to pop, while Rob Key seemed fit to burst too – but then he always does. Everyone was rather tripping over themselves as the clock counted down from 200 in the appropriately named Wankhede Stadium. Colvile asked cryptically: "How on earth are we ever going to expect to see anything different, or the same, from Sachin when we consider life in the future?" Over on the local broadcaster Star, Harsha Bhogle intoned mystifyingly: "On a misty Mumbai morning it's all drawing to a close. The sun is setting on one of Mumbai's favourite sons." By this time Key must have wondering if he was meeting himself going to bed.

It was a good job they were counting down from 200 because Tendulkar had to rush back up the long flight of steps to the dressing-room to retrieve the special cap he had just been presented with. It's a dash that many England players have made in the past, though for a different reason. No need to hurry; the West Indies opener Chris Gayle is so laid-back that he hadn't reached the crease by the time the countdown expired.

Tendulkar is probably as close as a sportsman can get to being a god – Sir David Beckham please note, you've got nothing on Sachin and his billion or so worshippers (see below) – and it seemed that some higher power was writing the script: Gayle hit the first ball of the match straight to Tendulkar at square leg; a huge cheer went up. He threw it to his team-mate and his shades fell to the ground; another huge cheer. Has anyone ever received such a rapturous reception when their glasses fell off?

Four hours later, the little big man came out to bat and was roared to the crease. It was an extraordinary moment. He was accorded a guard of honour and even the two umpires joined in. One of them, Nigel Llong, had erroneously given him out in the previous game; this time he was no doubt keeping his index finger firmly in his pocket. Otherwise an entire city would have burned. But it made clapping a bit difficult.

Colvile had recalled John Arlott's commentary on the last innings of Don Bradman. After he had been applauded all the way to the wicket and given three cheers by England, Arlott mused: 0"I wonder how you see the ball at all." The Don, of course, got a duck, thereby missing out on the four runs he needed to end up with an average of exactly 100.

Sachin, meanwhile, took a wild heave at his third ball and squirted it down to deep square leg. It might have been the ugliest shot this most elegant of batsmen had ever played. A moment of madness, but he was up and running. A billion people signed with relief; the resulting wind would have put out the biggest of fires.

Tendulkar was in imperious mood, as it happened. And even when his partner scored a run there was loud acclaim as it meant their man was back on strike. He looked certain to get a century but it was not to be. He is obviously not the only god. When he was out, for a second the deathly quiet was deafening. The tumult returned as he trudged back to the pavilion. And the rest was silence.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Ad Sales - UK Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global mul...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel your sales role is l...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Vendor Services Manager (IT) - Central London

£50000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Vendor Services Manager (...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album