Sunil Gavaskar's 10,000th test run: The videotape now goes missing
Sunil Gavaskar’s 10,000th test run was an unprecedented feat. It was cricket’s equvalent of Edmund Hiliary and Tenzing Norgay’s historic ascent of Mt.Everest. It was a moment of great joy for Indians and the fact that the event occured on home soil against arch rivals Pakistan was the icing on the cake.
29 years later, reports have now emerged that Doordarshan has misplaced the videotape of that historic moment. Back in the day, the ubiquitious Doordarshan held broadcasting rights for cricket matches across the country. In response to a query by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, officials from Prasar Bharti and Doordharshan responded that the archival footage of the match where Gavaskar became the highest run-getter in the world (India v Pakistan, March 4 to 9, 1987) was quite simply, “not available”.
If this news would enrage the fans, they would be absolutely livid to learn that the footage of Gavaskar’s iconic moment isn’t the only one that DD has misplaced. Footage of the famous tied Test match of 1987 between India and Australia at Chennai (formerly Madras) and the entire 1987 World Cup archives are reportedly missing as well. While officials are clueless, one senior DD oficial had a explaination. “Nowadays, we digitize the tape to ensure there is a backup in case we have to reuse a tape. But earlier that was not an option and since there were no proper guidelines, it was easy to overwrite a tape”, he opined.
Incidentally, DD has been kind to several other historic Indian sporting moments. Officials claim to have footage of the 1982 Asian Games, Geet Sethi's 1985 World Billiards Championship match against Bob Marshall and the 1987 Davis Cup tie between India and Sweden.
Gavaskar however, was sympathetic towards this act of negligence despite calling it “unfortunate”. "Back in those days, the technology was not as advanced and so they couldn't have archived it. Because of that they must have lost quite a lot of files and papers. But from at least now on, they should ensure that they archive the stuff properly," Gavaskar said.
Sunil Gavaskar retired as one of the most celebrated cricketers of all time with 10,122 test runs to his credit at an average of 51.12. Gavaskar held the record of most test tons for long until Sachin Tendulkar upstaged it. Since retirement, Gavaskar has administrative responsibilites with the BCCI and the ICC. He has also been a well respected columnist and a television commentator. He is currently away in the West Indies performing commentary duties on India’s tour of the Carribean.