An avoidable eyesore

Sir, — When a television channel buys the rights to a world-class event, it is but natural for a viewer to expect a certain amount of involvement, dedication and sincerity from the producers. StarSports and ESPN maintain a high standard in every programme and particularly when it comes to cricket matches. Time just glides away when the foursome of Sunny (Sunil Gavaskar), (Geoff) Boycott, Sherry (Navjot Singh Sidhu) and Harsha (Bhogle) bring cricket matches live. They have a way with the presentation to add to the drama in the middle. We viewers thus feel at home, rather at the ground! In contrast is the way SET MAX has let down its viewers with its sub-mediocre panel of experts. Pray, what has Mandira Bedi got to do in this midst except nodding to every crass remark passed or blurting out trivial things? How has her presence done any good to the channel or to the game? If the channel felt there was an under-representation of women, then let it remember there exists an Indian women's cricket team to fulfill its obligation. A vacant chair in her place would have been a treat to the viewer, unless SET MAX was out to prove that it can do with any Tom, Dick and Bedi!

K. R. Subramonia Sarma, Thiruvananthapuram * * * Bumper issue

Sir, — As a regular reader of (I would say our) The Sportstar, please accept my thanks for a really informative and illustrative bumper issue. For only 10 rupees it is really a steal. The World Cup schedule given in a wonderful format in the poster has really come in handy. Besides, the statistics inputs contain everything that a cricket lover would want. May you continue to provide us with such special information for every major sports programme.

Bipradip Banerjee, Durgapur * * * Good job

Sir, — Your special issue on the World Cup was simply sensational. It is awesome to have so much information in a single issue. Good job.

Chatrik, Bangalore * * * Unreasonable reaction

Sir, — This has reference to the public reaction that followed India's capitulation to Australia in a World Cup match.

Disappointment is a common human feeling. But cursing and burning effigies of players are inhuman acts. Neither Sourav Ganguly nor the rest of the team asked us to look to them as world beaters.

They did not ask us to perform yagnas except making a plea to pray for India's success. This could have been done without much hype.

But the media blew it out of proportion. It was sickening to read newspaper reports on the incidents in various parts of the country. When we ourselves are quick to see our heroes as sinners, then why complain if other countries underestimate us or poke fun at us?

The best approach would be to leave Ganguly and others to themselves. They will prove their ability.

Gurukripa Dhinakaran, Madurai * * * Not cricket, PTV!

Sir, — I was watching the news programme on PTV World the other night. While on the World Cup, the discussion came to the match between India and Australia when shots of Indian wickets falling were shown first.

Then they showed advertisement clips of various products involving Indian cricketers. It was reasoned there that India had lost to Australia because the cricketers spent more time on shooting advertisements than playing cricket. I am a great fan of Indian cricket and this portrayal of our cricketers in such a blatant way hurt me.

Our own channels do not indulge in such shows or make fun of Pakistan players, who too were struggling in the World Cup. It is sad that PTV should stoop to this level.

Avijit Bagchi, Asansol * * * Tennis posters please!

Sir, — I have been a regular reader of your magazine for well over a decade, maybe even longer; from the time when it was printed in the form of an afternoon newspaper.

I have always looked to a new copy at the stands, eagerly anticipating more than anything else, the poster inside. As a tennis fan, my choice is clear, but these days your emphasis on cricket has led to more and more posters of cricketers. That's understandable considering the fan-following cricket commands but do cater to tennis fans like me too.

Please have more posters of tennis stars — there are so many gorgeous female players around these days — in action.

Vivek Walavalkar, Mumbai * * * Let's not over-react

Sir, — India's loss to Australia, the reigning World Cup champion, was not as shocking as the way it lost without a semblance of a fight. This is what upset the avid followers of the game. But we forget that the Aussies themselves started poorly in the 99' World Cup and then scraped through to the super six stage before winning the title ultimately.

My point is, why can't India do the same? Certainly, the Indian team did not deserve the kind of reactions and hate mails in the aftermath of the defeat to Australia. This is not the kind of (over) reaction that the team needed. These are incidents that happen in our neighbouring country, not ours! We must understand that the team sent to the World Cup is the best we have. So support the players. That is our moral duty. Chalo India, let's do it. You can do it guys and we fans are with you.

Saikat Mukherjee, Bhusawal