Kaneria's heroics

Man for the BIG occasion-

Sir, — Pakistan, a predominantly batting side, played safe and ensured a draw in the first Test against India. Danish Kaneria was the hero for Pakistan, which did very little in other departments of the game, except the match saving second innings batting. Kamran Akmal with his century saw to it that Pakistanis occupied the crease for a long time.

On the other hand, the Indians despite taking the first innings lead could not get the Pakistanis out for a second time. For a team vying for a top place, this was insulting against this Pakistan batting line up. Of course the fact that such things have happened earlier against Australia too, may not be pardonable. The Indian batting must be more purposeful and its bowling more attacking.

What a contrast to what the Aussies did in the first Test against New Zealand.

Not for nothing are they world beaters. Lastly, the other thing that stood out was, the old fashioned "draw". Yet the match produced a "cricket result", with a "healthy run rate of 2.50." As for the commentary the less said about it the better.

Bhagavath Subrahmanya Viswanath, Muscat A scapegoat?

Sir, — The article — "Shoaib has been an easy target" by Peter Roebuck (The Sportstar, March 12) made good reading.

Pakistan is making a mistake by repeatedly punishing Shoaib Akhtar when he needs to be given the confidence.

In fact, in Australia he performed well and it seems the prize for his good performance was just a rebuke! Though made a scapegoat, he was the focus of attention. He was not the only team member to display indiscipline. Yet the others went scot-free.

P. Krishna, Chennai Very topical

Sir, — Your issue dated March 12 was topical and timely. Congratulations to Rahul Dravid for scoring centuries against all cricket playing nations. As a number three bat, he has got a good record with Don Bradman alone averaging higher than him. He is dependable and rock-like and aptly called The Wall. Even some of the world's great bowlers say that Dravid is the toughest Indian batsman. No doubt he is a player for all seasons.

P. Sharma, Chennai Going overboard

Sir, — Ted Corbett is an `honourable' man. Remember, how his column in The Sportstar was awash with tears, when David Gower was "guillotined' just before Graham Gooch's party left the English shores in 1993 for India on what was going to be a `Brownwash' tour. The writer seems to have a penchant for going overboard, whenever a promising cricketer comes along. Here are some cases, of his assessments having gone awry...

Robert Croft, a gentle off spinner of the garden variety took one `five wicket' haul in Test cricket and he was heralded as the best offie in business! By the way where is Croft now-a-days? G. Smith, the Springbok skipper, made a dashing start to his international career and what had we? A `Runsmith par excellence', `A left-handed Bradman' Poor Smith is now struggling to cope with the `demands' of international cricket. James Anderson swung a few and we had a reincarnated Alec Bedser amidst us! Now Anderson is struggling to stay afloat. Steve Harmison let rip a few and lo, his name led all the rest! The recent South African tour put Harmison in his place.

Now onto Kevin Pietersen and good Ole' Ted is at it again! It is no sin to eulogise this promising cricketer but how nice it would have been, had at least a pragmatic passing remark been made of the fact that he has to first come out of the `Baptism of fire' — the ensuing Ashes series.

Suresh Manoharan, Hyderabad Future of ODIs

Sir, — Bob Simpson in his column (Feb. 26) has aptly described "the future of limited overs cricket." It is true that 20/20 cricket has given the cricket world the needed oxygen to promote the game and regain its popularity.

Simpson has argued about the future of 50 overs cricket. He has cherished most about the past. At present, it is important to protect the ODI from all barriers and make it more exciting. It is true that the time taken is very irritating.

Besides, the quality of ODI has gone down in the last 2-3 years. Yet, ODI is exciting and entertaining. But 20/20 cricket is all entertainment.

Some constructive changes in the ODI format can help it increase the excitement and standard. ICC did not take any firm steps to save the ODI in its last meeting. With some amendments in the current format not affecting television coverage, we can get to see more enjoyable cricket.

Ashis Biswas, Khamar Shimulia P.O., West Bengal