There was a time when ITV was a major player when it came to sport on the telly. In fairness, that time was the 1970s, Dickie Davies and Brian Moore roamed the land and there seems to have been little on since, but this is changing
ITV4 is still something of an unknown quantity to many, like an errant drawing pin, stumbled upon when you least expect it but once the initial pain subsides it is bearable. Apart from Matt Smith, obviously.
That is the caveat to ITV4, he is on quite a lot. As is Craig Doyle, but there is much good to be found too including the whereabouts of one of the truly class acts of the sports presenting world — Steve Rider.
Snatched from mainstream viewing several years ago I can reveal that Steve is alive and well and was presenting, neither bound or gagged, from Donington on Sunday as the enjoyable madness that is British Touring Cars took to the track.
In fairness people have spent less time in captivity that Steve spent there on Sunday, linking his way through eight hours of coverage with consummate ease.
Smith spent a similarly long spell at the crease on Saturday as the Indian Premier League cricket helped fill the schedules in between episodes of Minder, Sweeney and The Professionals.
It was rather fitting then that Jacques Kallis and the Kolkata Knight Riders (no relation to Steve) were in action against the Chennai Fall Guys (okay, I’ve made that one up).
How ridiculous it would be to name your teams after cult TV shows of bygone days? Indeed, much better to name them after brands of fags, so the Chennai Super Kings it is then.
Smith is joined by the rather alluring Shonali Nagrani (I assume if she had Kookaburras she’d be your Nagranda, but I digress) along with the two Aussies of the Fosters ads.
It turns out they were actually Jason Gillespie and Ian Harvey and were there because there are a lot of Aussies playing in the IPL and as Smith told us, one Englishman —Eoin Morgan.
Indeed as English as champ, digging peat and thwacking leather balls with a willow sheelelagh but then again Danny Morrison turned up too. He has changed greatly from the Eighties. Oh, it’s not that Danny Morrison.
The game was a repeat of last year’s final was entertaining with the Knight Riders in a lovely kit (this is an incredibly funny joke for fans of the Hoff’s finest moment) and local hero Gautam Gambhir was given a rapturous welcome by the crazy Kolkata fans.
Moments later he was caught out by a Hussey, Ian Botham was the last cricketer to have this happen, but this time it was Aussie Mike who neatly swerved past a black Trans Am to hold the catch.
For the record, the Super Kings won the day to set up a clash with the Delhi Dukes of Hazard in the next round, although it could be difficult for Sonali to slip into the General Lee in Daisy Duke fashion while wearing a sari.