Bored during the middle overs or ads? Tune into Dhoni's sixes special with Actve Sports! © Getty Images

Have you ever missed the start of a huge game because of some mundane errand? Were you in the kitchen piling your plate with pudding when Shoaib Akhtar took that hat-trick? And are you fed up with the overdose of advertisements between overs?

Fret not. For the first time in India cricket enthusiasts - especially those who'd put off going to the loo for fear of missing anything - will now be able to see highlights whenever they please during the course of a match. Tata Sky, the satellite television from TATA and STAR, has launched Actve Sports, an interactive sports programming that offers this new feature along with virtual graphics and statistics. The service was launched at the start of the one-day series between England and Pakistan which was telecast on ESPN Star Sports.

The Actve Sports menu screen has three smaller screens showing live action, highlights and virtual graphics each of which can be viewed in a larger screen. However, even when you are watching highlights or virtual graphics, the live match remains open in a small screen so that you miss nothing.

The highlights play in a loop over and over again and updates as and when the events happen with a lag of about two overs. So when the cricket is not as enthralling as you'd like, you can tune into this package which comprise boundaries, wickets and other significant events, the biggest advantage being that you have something to watch during insufferably long advertisement breaks. On the downside, the user cannot access specific highlights that he wishes to see like a particular wicket or the fourth ball of the 25th over that got pulled for six. He has to wait for the reel to reach that point and then watch it.

For the more analytical watchers, the virtual graphics package tracks the line and length in every over and also shows you the batsman's favoured scoring areas on a wagon wheel. The most interesting feature of this package is the depiction of field placements which you often do not have access to while watching a match. Again the drawback is that you cannot choose specific graphics that you'd like to see but must wait for the package to play it for you.

Actve Sports also has a detailed scorecard that updates in real time and provides the team lists for the particular match. You can view each player's profile and for the statistically inclined there's a lot more on offer. Players stats, team stats, head-to-head records, series results, home and away records and loads of India-specific trivia are all part of a varied stats package that's easy to navigate.

You can also choose between English and Hindi commentary and if you fancy neither there's an option that lets you listen to the sound of the crowd, the players and the stadium's atmosphere. While this sort of interactive service is a first in India, Sky Sports has provided interactive viewing in England since 2000.

George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo