From the publishers of THE HINDU

Kapil Dev deserves it

Sir, - The 'Haryana Hurricane,' Kapil Dev, surely deserves the Wisden award. He is an all-rounder par excellence with 434 wickets, more than 5000 runs, and was an outstanding fielder.

The World Cup win under his captaincy was the greatest moment in the annals of Indian cricket history.

His fitness was simply remarkable. He was perhaps the only fast bowler in the world who had been in the team for 15 years at a stretch. This speaks volumes of his fitness as well as his talent.

Now coming to the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka Test series, it was a real drubbing for the Bangladesh team, which is not fit and mature enough to play Test cricket. It failed miserably even against Sri Lanka's second string.

The team has suffered 12 defeats in 13 Tests that it has played till date. Most of its defeats are by innings margins. Bangladesh has not crossed 200 in its last 11 innings.

The ICC has acted hastily in granting Bangladesh Test status. The facts and figures of its performance clearly reveal this.

SOYUZ CHANDA, SIVASAGAR, ASSAM. The award should have gone to Sunil Gavaskar

Sir, - Kapil Dev, the greatest all-rounder India has produced, who won the World Cup for India in 1983, was given the Indian Cricketer of the Century award by Wisden. With due respect to Kapil Dev, the award should have gone to Sunil Gavaskar.

There was a time when Indian batsmen were ridiculed for running away from the fast bowlers like Hall, Griffith, Bob Willis, Lillee and Jeff Thomson. It was Sunil, with his monumental patience, correct technique and strong will who faced the great fast bowlers with confidence, in their own backyard. He came out victorious and never did he flinch from any attack.

With Gavaskar solid in the batting, and with the spin quartet, groomed by Tiger Pataudi, captain Wadekar got all the glory.

It was Sunil who was the back-bone of India's batting, and his phenomenal average in 1971, his monumental 221 in England, the 177 against Pakistan in Chepauk were all innings of class.

He would straight drive even the fastest delivery of Imran Khan with panache. Though Tendulkar is regarded as the best now, I feel he is no match to the staying powers of Sunil, who excelled wherever he played. Gavaskar should be rated high, followed by Tiger Pataudi, the man who encouraged and moulded Prasanna, Chandra and Bedi into a winning combination.

Tendulkar has never carried the country's batting as Sunil has done so many times. In fact, Tendulkar has been a failure on foreign pitches, as is evident in the first Test at Lord's. Gavaskar is the most accomplished batsman to have played for India since Independence.

M. FAZAL, CHENNAI Thought-provoking

Sir, - I would like to compliment The Sportstar for its thought-provoking Perspective: 'What the Lord's victory means... and doesn't' (July 27th issue). The Perspective column hit the nail on the head when it said:

"We did not expect Yuveraj and Kaif to do what they did... they looked so good because they could afford to play with a freedom of mind and spirit that a heavily-burdened genius like Tendulkar cannot."

No doubt, after a record-breaking nine defeats in various tournament finals, the victory in the NatWest-tri-series final, at Lord's, must have come as a breath of fresh air to the cricket lovers in India.

But this minor victory has created so much media hype that it is compared with the 1983 World Cup win.

We are praising the youth - Kaif, Yuveraj Singh, Sehwag - sky high, but we will forget this victory when they fail and would start accusing them. I feel this media hype to create a demi-god of them is not right.

BIDYUT KUMAR CHATTERJEE, FARIDABAD Too much expectation is too bad

Sir, - Vijay Lokapally has rightly portrayed the mood of the Indian cricket fans in his feature 'Tendulkar remains the source of strength' (August 3rd issue).

We should stop elevating the Indian team to a pedestal one day, and then dumping it the next day, after a failure.

Yes, we have some great batsmen, but look at our bowling, it is quite pathetic. It is unfair for an Indian fan to have too much expectation on the team.

R. GANESAN, RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA Nice piece

Sir, - I read the article 'Soul Lifting Redemption Song' on Kapil Dev and I still remember the day when India won the World Cup under Kapil Dev's captaincy. Really I went back to that day after reading that piece.

LATHA, BY E-MAIL Good show by Agarkar

Sir, - Ajit Agarkar revelled at the Mecca of cricket, Lord's. Now more will be expected of Agarkar and he should keep up his good work both with the bat and the ball.

As expected, India lost the first Test meekly. Laxman, Agarkar and Ashish Nehra could only delay the inevitable. India lacks application while batting.

P. KANNAN, SRIVILLIPUTHUR