Published : May 15, 2004 00:00 IST

Lara the great

Sir, — Call him record breaker or path maker, Brian Lara has proved again that he is the number one batsman in the World. But more important making a faltering team to deliver is something extraordinary. Coming back after a losing streak and poor scores to make history is just fantastic. He has thus silenced his critics, who were criticising him for not performing well as a player and also as a captain. Even, if Don Bradman had been alive, he would have crowned him as "living cricket legend" ahead of him. It is difficult to imagine that a person who was thinking of retiring has comeback brilliantly at the crunch. Great deeds of a true genius.

Gaurav Kumar,VadodaraA legend

Sir, — Your perspective on Brian Lara (April 24) was heartwarming. Thanks for relaying what West Indian newspapers wrote about Lara. It is very much in keeping with the character of your magazine.

It requires a lot of character, courage and discipline to better the mammoth record he held for 10 years. It was only for six months that Matthew Hayden could have a taste of it. Who else can regain the crown than the man who possessed it and what a way to restore with a quadruple. This record will stand for long. Lara's greatness in cricket history cannot be overlooked. He is a legend among legends. After coming out of injury and a lot of personal problems he has stood firm and tall to achieve this.

P. Kannan, SrivilliputturAggressive captain

Sir, — Indian cricket team has always been talented and there is no doubt on that front. But at times it seemed to lack application and aggression. Thanks to Sourav Ganguly the current Indian team looks to be aggressive. In the past, Indian teams were tame, may be they wanted to have a gentleman image. But Ganguly has broken all that. He gives tit for tat. We needed a player and captain like him, who makes his presence felt in the field. Ganguly commands respect from the players. This aggression is helping the Indian team and in the last two years, India has been doing well overseas.

Pankaj Kumar, ChennaiAbundant talent

Sir, — Sourav Ganguly is both an inspiring and tactical captain. He wants Yuvraj to open the batting in Tests as he is `too good to be left out' of the playing eleven. Ganguly is fiddling with the specialist spots. Greg Chappell considers Akash Chopra and Virender Sehwag to be a good opening pair. Many experts vouch for the talent and class of Kaif, Badani and Rayadu. Stretching Ganguly's arguments, the aforementioned talented batsmen should be accommodated in the eleven. Is it possible for all these batsmen to perform the role of the various specialists? The captain has to realise that we need specialist openers, 'keepers, pacemen and spinners for a great allround side. I only hope that Chopra or any other worthy opener is given the job in Tests.

Jesuraj Xavier, TheniNot satisfactory

Sir, — The Indian cricket team did a wonderful job in Pakistan and achieved many things. But the greatest achievement was Virender Sehwag's triple century — the first by an Indian. Though we are happy enough it is not satisfactory. We have the team potential and talent. But look at West Indies. It is not a good team but Lara creates records and keeps his team in contention. So we are happy for Sehwag but expect more from the team as such.

Prasant Sarangi, BerhampurStill a biased nation

Sir, — The recent series against Pakistan was no doubt a great success. It brought more incentives and followers to the game. While cricket has matured look at other sports, they are languishing. For instance, there are more squash courts in Singapore (which is smaller than Mumbai) than in entire India. There may perhaps be more swimming pools here than in Japan, but how many are of Olympic specifications? There are countless such examples, but champions cannot be produced out of thin air. Even more pertinent than infrastructure, however, is establishing a sports culture. We are still notoriously biased in favour of academics. Sports is seen as timepass, and only a change in mind-set, can better things.

Umesh S. Shukla, AhmedabadSpecial articles

Sir, — Thanks to The Sportstar for bringing the best and special articles from top notch writers around the globe and for the reproduction of some from Tennis Magazine.

However, I have found an error in Peter Bodo's feature on Maria Sharapova in the May 1 issue (page 44). Sharapova never made it to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. Her best showing was fourth round last year. I have been wondering for many months, whether Nirmal Shekar, one of my favourites, has taken a sabbatical from tennis writing.

Rajendra Parihar, New Delhi

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