Encouraging trend

Sir, — It is an encouraging sign that left-arm spinners took the spotlight in the under-19 World Cup. In recent times, cricket has seen a number of great spinners such as Anil Kumble, Mushtaq Ahmed, Muttiah Muralitharan, Saqlain Mushtaq and Shane Warne, but all of them are right-armers. South Africa's Paul Adams showed glimpses of his extraordinary talent before fading into oblivion. Among the current players, England's Ashley Giles and Bangladesh's Mohammad Rafique have been performing well.

It would do cricket a world of good if the likes of Graeme White, Ravinder Jadeja and Saqibul Hasan can take wickets regularly at the highest levels. Especially encouraging is the fact that Test minnow Bangladesh is building a pool of left-arm spinners to take on the big boys in the future.

Arjun Chaudhuri, Kolkata Kaif is the man

Sir, — What a superlative performance India put up to bounce back from the 0-1 loss in the Test series and from 0-1 down in the ODI series to win 4-1 against Pakistan. I wonder if any other Indian team was as strong as the current Indian ODI team. This team has all the talent and temperament to match the Indian teams that won the World Cup in 1983 and the World Championship of Cricket in 1985.

I have a suggestion to offer to the current Indian team. In my opinion, Mohammed Kaif should be used as a reserve opener and regular No. 3. I still cannot forget how he anchored India to the famous victory in the Natwest Trophy final at Lord's in 2002. He has the ability to play the anchor role to perfection if only he is given more chances. He can turn the singles into twos and twos into threes by his quick running between the wickets — something a batsman playing the anchor should do. If Kaif comes later in the order he is not that effective because the situation often demands of the batsman to go all out on the attack from the first ball. This is not his strength.

Another advantage with Kaif is that he can be counted upon to save 20 to 30 runs with his brilliant fielding.

I also hope the selectors induct Robin Uthappa into the pool of openers who could be tried alongside Sehwag in the next few years.

Meanwhile, I would like to congratulate you on the new-look Sportstar. The magazine is now cool, classy, traditional and trendy.

Duke Jeyaraj, Hyderabad Pleasant surprise

Sir, — When I approached the newsstand to purchase a copy of Sportstar, the man handed me a tabloid. I was first surprised, and then overjoyed to find the magazine in a new format.

Hearty congratulations for re-launching the magazine in a new format. I still remember the year when Sportstar was launched as a tabloid in 1978.

I purchased every issue and systematically filed each one of them. I also bought the first issue of Sportstar when it was re-launched in the magazine format in 1980.

Now the magazine is more colourful, more informative and more interesting to read.

Jagdish Biniwale, Ahmedabad Disadvantages of a tabloid

Sir, — The new-look Sportstar has its advantages. But it also has its disadvantages.

I had collected a few copies of Sportstar that were of lasting interest, which was possible with the earlier format. The tabloids are big and unwieldy.

Further, Sportstar is not a newspaper that you have to read it in a day. I read it at leisure and at different times during the week.

It is easier to carry a magazine around, but not a tabloid.

Since Sportstar tabloid comes to me folded, it is difficult to read while lying down.

Bob Nair, Meerut Cant. (U.P.) It's lively

Sir, — I am a regular reader of Sportstar and I am enjoying the articles and the lively photographs. Congratulations for giving the magazine a new look. I am very confident that the new format will become very popular.

I also hope that you will continue to cover domestic tournaments like the Ranji Trophy, Deodhar Trophy and Duleep Trophy.

Well done and keep it up. Shirish J. Buch, Rajkot