Does cricket in the sub-continent breed selfishness?

AUSTRALIA might be the best team in the world and Matthew Hayden might be one of the finest batsmen cricket has ever produced. But that doesn't mean that you could malign the reputation and hurt the sentiments of other sportsmen.

The sub-continent has always been famous for its classy and stylish batsmen, even dangerous spinners and furious pacemen. And all this fame hasn't been created in a day or two; it's taken a lot of time and more importantly lot of hard work. Today teams from the sub-continent — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka can be a threat to the other teams, which includes Australia as well. And there is a possibility that within a few years one of them will take the no. 1 spot from Australia.

If Hayden's comments were meant to shatter the confidence of players from the sub-continent, then I must say that cricket is no longer a gentleman's game. And if the comments were personal or biased, then it would have been better to keep them personal, as it is said — never wash dirty linen in public.

Nasir Rizvi, Aligarh

MARK TAYLOR made a remarkable sacrifice when he chose to declare the Australian innings when he was batting on 334 against Pakistan, which India's legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar pointed out was a tactical mistake. No doubt Matthew Hayden chose to attack the sub-continent cricketers. Time and again it has been proved that our cricketers are too selfish. For instance, Sachin Tendulkar was disappointed with Rahul Dravid's decision to declare the Indian innings, when he was on 194 in the series against Pakistan. This raised hue and cry. The country can't suffer for the sake of an individual. One can't blame Sachin for his love of records, which give him fame and money. In an interview to a national newspaper, Irfan Pathan said that his love for money and fame "will be there as long as I am playing cricket. I want to just keep playing". Yes, it is true sub-continent players are selfish (though not all). Aren't Australian cricketers selfish? There are some instances when we go through Don Bradman's life story with an open mind about how he treated other great cricketers of his time, how selfish he was.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

I totally disagree with Matthew Hayden and some of your readers. Sachin Tendulkar is one of the world's best batsmen. They say Sachin had no business to crib about Dravid's declaration when he was on 194. It was actually the media which asked him how he felt about it and Sachin naturally felt bad as everyone longs for a double century. Another factor was the time. Sachin played slowly when in the 90's as the situation warranted. In fact there have been times when he accelerated when the situation demanded. He even played the entire World Cup carrying an injury and received the player of the tournament award. But his comment was he would have been happier had India won. There is no doubt that Sachin plays for the country/team and not for himself.

Nikhil, Hyderabad

IT does not take a Hayden to assess our players as most of the Indian cricketers are selfish and play with an eye on personal milestones. Though it would be harsh to say that they are not interested in playing for the team's win, one gets the feeling that they play more for records than wins. We have some top batsmen, yet we are not world beaters. Other players also look for milestones but they are better focussed than the Indians.

Angarag Bhuyan, Assam