From the publishers of THE HINDU

Professional job

Sir, - This is to congratulate you on your accomplished efforts to cover world sports in a concise and informative fashion. I appreciate The Sportstar because of its detailed analysis of cricket and soccer and the essays by various sports writers. Being abroad in college in the USA, it is always refreshing to receive your magazine each week. One suggestion: could you add more posters of cricket players "in action" on the field, rather than simply posing at the nets? Once again, well done for maintaining such high professional standard in sports journalism, and keeping a cricket enthusiast's mind abreast of current happenings, on and off the field.

JAMIE ALTER, BY E-MAIL Some consolation for Asians

Sir, - The first World Cup to be held in Asia showed that Asian footballers are no match to their European counterparts. However that co-host South Korea came close to bagging a bronze medal was some consolation. But we Indians will continue to lament that we are not able to qualify for the mega event. India may have failed to cross the preliminary round of the World Cup qualifier, but its young footballers must have learnt a few lessons from the recent edition. If only football is given as much thrust as cricket in India, we will definitely become a soccer nation.

BARHIYAKOTHI RAJNIKANT, PATNA Truly special & world class

Sir, - This is to compliment The Sportstar for its superb World Cup bumper issue. I enjoyed reading all the articles from cover to cover. Like always this issue was truly special and world class. To praise the effort in a few words is not enough as you and your team have done a grand job and yeoman service to the readers. World class photo features gave a ringside view of the previous World Cups. It was also interesting to read the statistics and graphics in the review of matches.

NIRMALENDU CHAKRABORTY, COOCH-BEHAR Excellent issue

Sir, - The Sportstar World Cup bumper issue was worth every paisa. The photographs were excellent while the articles were delightful. Your cover story "Genius is what Genius does" by Nirmal Shekar was the best. The article revealed the personalities of Pele, Maradona and other legends reflecting their character.

Brian Glanville's prediction about "France and Argentina look to be favourites" was proved wrong which not only shocked him but billions of football lovers - when both the teams bowed out early. "Facts and Figures" by K. Keerthivasan was another gift to the readers. Many thanks for bringing out such a beautiful issue in a "cricket" loving nation.

BIDYUT KUMAR CHATTERJEE, FARIDABAD Predictable final

Sir, - For all the upsets and giant killings, the 2002 FIFA World Cup ultimately witnessed a predictable final between two traditional soccer giants. It was a fitting climax to a World Cup which saw the hot favourites tumble one after another. What better could a football enthusiast have asked for than a titanic clash between Germany and Brazil? Ironically, these two footballing superpowers have never met before in a World Cup final!

But, in the final, the flamboyance and sheer skill of the Brazilians totally outwitted the dogged and defensive German counterparts. It was really a fantastic performance from a truly classy team. Seeing, the Brazilians play in this World Cup was an absolute treat to the eyes. Deft passing, skilful dribbling and exceptional shot taking capabilities of the Brazilians totally mesmerised the opposition. Besides, the Brazilians were also excellent in one-on-one situations. They highlighted the fact that though defensive approach is necessary to survive, there is nothing better than scoring goals to win a match. The Brazilians were the rightful and deserving winners.

SOYUZ CHANDA, ASSAM Good coverage

Sir, - I am a regular and avid reader of The Sportstar. Apart from cricket, football, athletics, etc., I like the Sportoon column very much. Your coverage of the World Cup was good. There were many controversial decisions during the championships. FIFA received many hate mails from irate fans over refeering in some matches. Many players were found pretending to foul often. Thus, the time has come for FIFA to introduce some new rules to keep the game lively and exciting. In boxing, there is a practise of counting from 1 to 10. Likewise a referee should be allowed to count from one to ten for a feigning footballer to stand up.

VEDANTA SHANKAR, JORHAT Tragic death

Sir, - The news of Hansie Cronje's death came as a shock to the entire cricketing fraternity. The providential punishment was very harsh. This was a very untimely loss. Though his contribution to South African cricket was huge, his achievements were effectively wiped away by the match fixing scandal. Hansie's dream of winning the World Cup was also shattered. He was a wonderful cricketer and a shrewd leader. Barring the shameful period he was very popular on and off the field and he served his country very well. For all his sins (match fixing) he did not deserve to die like that.

SHRIJISH J. BUCH, RAJKOT