Hail Yousuf

I agree that Mohammad Yousuf, who beat Viv Richards's longstanding Test record of the most number of runs in a calendar year, is "a champion batsman who is still to get his due" (Sportstar, December 9, 2006). We live in a world which goes gaga over the charismatic and the talented. Yousuf is not in that mould and so players like him do not get their due.

Yousuf's style stands in stark contrast to that of Viv Richards. Viv was a "blaster", while Yousuf is more a "grafter." Yousuf's greatness lies in the fact that he makes up for his lack of grace and talent with loads of grit and temperament. And to have grit and a strong temperament is in itself a talent as Ivan Lendl, the legendary tennis player, once said. And it is this kind of "different" talent which the Indian batsmen should show in South Africa.

Duke Jonathan Jeyaraj, Hyderabad The Ganguly factor

I refer to your Cover Story, "Is Sourav the Solution?" (Sportstar, December 9, 2006). It is definitely going to be a battle for Ganguly, especially with the coach/captain. More than the hostile bowling of Pollock & Co., it would be a tougher test for Ganguly to blend with the team. Now that the selectors have chosen him for his experience, it would be better if the coach & captain give him ample chance. In fact, he would have been an asset in the one-day series rather than in the Tests. Tamil Nadu's Badrinath would have been a better choice for the Tests.

Still, being an ardent fan of India and Ganguly, I wish him and the team all the best in the Test series.

Incidentally, I also wish to congratulate Mohammad Yousuf for breaking the 30-year record of Vivian Richards, that too by scoring two centuries in Pakistan's final Test of the year. He is the unsung hero of Pakistan.

N. Mahadevan, Chennai Bengal Tiger's African Safari

This is with reference to your Cover Story on Sourav Ganguly (Dec. 9). The former India captain faces a tough task in South Africa. This is the best chance for him to prove his strength to the team management and Greg Chappell. The top order has completely failed and it would be a nice chance for Ganguly to score runs and establish himself in the side for the 2007 World Cup. It would be nice to see how the `Royal Bengal Tiger' succeeds in his `African Safari'.

Sudarshan, S. Coimbatore The best ever since the Don

Ponting is in immaculate form. His performance in the first two Tests of the recent Ashes series has been astonishing. I think that Ponting is the best captain in the cricketing world as he is able to co-ordinate his batting and leadership skills. If he continues in this fashion he will definitely beat Sachin Tendulkar's record of 35 Test centuries.

Bharani. K, Chennai