Lala's verdict

Sir, — All the articles on ICC's latest recommendations on elbow extension of bowlers were very timely (The Sportstar, Nov. 27). One remembers a comment made by the late Lala Amarnath while doing the TV commentary of an Indo-Pak. series in Pakistan in the late 70s. When a rising ball from Karsan Ghavri hit a Pakistani batsman, one of the Pakistani commentators asked the great Lala whether the bouncer of Ghavri was faster than his normal deliveries!

The great man replied that all bowlers chucked while bouncing the ball and the delivery was naturally faster!

K. A. S. Namboodiripad, Thrissur * * * Cricket in between ads!

Sir, — The telecast of the Australia and South Africa Test series by Doordarshan leaves much to be desired. It is a universal truth that advertisements are the lifeline of TV channels. Nowhere is it mentioned though that they should become a spoilsport.

Ever heard of the final moments of a Test being blacked out with advertisements after a team has won? Generally sports channels show the winning team celebrating, congratulating one another and walking out of the ground shaking hands with the opponents. The coverage continues till the teams leave the field.

Instead, DD shows advertisements as soon as the last wicket falls. One has to wait till the advertisements are over and the insipid programme `Fourth Umpire' is half way through to see the presentation ceremony on the field by which time all the shows of emotions by players would have come to an end.

Normally after the completion of the match, channels display scoreboard, bowling analysis and the fall of wickets. In DD coverage one has to wait for at least 10 minutes to get all these details. "When a bowler bends down to tie his shoe lace, an advertisement appears on the screen," quipped one of my friends.

Who needs this `Fourth Umpire' when renowned commentators are giving the match summary after the game? The people on the show are seeing the action on TV like other viewers. Thank God they did not name it `Match Referee'!

It is high time that DD noticed these shortcomings and did something to improve its cricket telecast. There are occasions when the first ball of an over is blacked out because of the attempt to push in as many advertisements as possible between overs. So one has to call DD's coverage `cricket in between advertisements.'

K. Valsarajan, Cheruthuruthy, Kerala * * * Time to promote fast bowlers

Sir, — It is high time that the Indian think tank promoted quality fast bowlers for India to produce results in Tests. Spin, by itself, cannot give us the 20 wickets needed to win a Test. A quality fast bowler or a medium pacer can take wickets on any kind of pitch with their movement in the air. Andrew Hall, for instance, made the ball swing in Kanpur on a benign pitch. Had Irfan Pathan been playing he would have been a handful because of his reverse swing.

The Indian team has failed to produce results on many occasions because of their inability to get 20 wickets. Test matches may lose their flavour and popularity with Indian fans if the Indian bowling attack continues to be one-dimensional and thereby unable to force wins.

G. Keerthi Ganesh, Chennai * * * Classic on doubles

Sir, — "Double the pleasure — or pressure" (The Sportstar, Nov. 13) made a fantastic read. Doubles matches, whether in tennis, table tennis or badminton, are very attractive because pairs have to guess rapidly the moves of the opponent and set their challenges accordingly.

I had witnessed a match at the MSLTA courts at Cooperage, Mumbai some 24 years ago between the Amritraj brothers on one side and the Delany brothers on the other. The crowd was behind the Amritraj brothers but as they lost control over the game they switched their support to the underdogs, the Delany brothers, who went on to capture the title.

The article, though, did not mention the Amritraj brothers, Vijay and Anand, or the best pair from South Africa, Hewit and Frew McMillan. Who knows had India played the 1974 Davis Cup final the tennis world could have witnessed an epic doubles battle.

Looking forward to more such classic articles.

A. G. Kanetkar, Mumbai * * * Best in the country

Sir, — I am a regular reader of The Sportstar since 2003. I take this opportunity to thank you for the excellent coverage of all cricket matches, especially for the photo feature. Yours is the best magazine in the country.

Khubaib Hami, Cuttack