LETTERS

New design

Sir — I am a long-time reader of your magazine. The new design and layout are really impressive and eye-catching. I congratulate you on this new avatar of The Sportstar.

It would be nice if you improve on the posters, too. On many occasions the players' posters are without any action. For example, if you are planning a poster of Rahul Dravid it would be nice if his favourite shot (a cover drive) is blown up instead of a non-action one. Everyone knows who is Rahul Dravid and so showing the player in action would add spice to the blow up! Similarly a bowler's poster with his run-up action would be ideal.

P. Krishna, Chennai Well done Murali

Sir — The Cover Story on Muttiah Muralitharan — "Sky is the limit" — in the issue dated May 22, 2004 was good. It is true that for a bowler such as Murali, only sky is the limit.

It's been a long journey filled with controversies. This feat makes him the most successful spinner of all time and confirms him as the greatest player in Sri Lanka's history.

All the way from his debut against the mighty Australians in 1992-93, to date Murali has been flexing that rubbery wrist, coming up with off-spinners, top-spinners and doosras, and bemusing batsmen. While Walsh took 132 Tests to reach 519 wickets, this is only Murali's 89th Test, and at 32 years old, he has plenty of cricket left in him.

Rajarshi Ghosh, Kolkata Don't put pressure on Pathan

Sir — When Ajit Agarkar entered the international scene many former cricketers said that he would be the next Kapil Dev. He bulked under pressure and hasn't lived up to the expectations. Now, we shouldn't repeat the same mistake with Irfan Pathan. He is rather young and he still has to learn a lot of things. In future, he may not succeed in the same way as he did in Pakistan. It is during such moments, the skipper Ganguly should motivate him. Pathan is a good talent and has to be properly taken care of. He is more of a bowler who can also contribute with the bat. India needs more of a bowler in him.

Pankaj Kumar, Chennai Pakistan lacks professionalism

Sir — Being an avid cricket fan, I don't think Pakistan is short of talent but they surely lack professionalism. In the recent series, we saw some potential players in Asif Kamal, Mohamed Sami, Umar Gul, Shabbir Ahmed, Yaseer Ahmed, Kamran Akmal and Danish Kaneria, to name a few. I feel they are very much talented and can perform well but they are very emotional and react very soon.

The Pakistan Board doesn't allow the players to settle down and expects them to perform in every game, which is not possible. Everybody has a bad patch. There is need to be more innovative and bring newer technologies to improve the game. The old passion of Paksitanis has to return. Pakistan is a formidable side and can't be taken lightly.

P. K. Sinha, Chennai Perfect decision

Sir — The BCCI's graded payment to the players according to seniority and their consistent performance in number of matches played is a perfect decision, which not only asks the players to prove their potential, but to realise their place in the playing XI.

Also the reformed payments to the domestic cricketers about 10 times their usual fee, puts a value to their hard work in domestic circuits and has finally removed the feeling which these players would have had — not enough payment compared to international cricketers. By this, more number of talented cricketers will survive long in the domestic circuit, which will ultimately be a boon to Indian cricket.

G. Keerthi Ganesh, Chennai An eye-opener

Sir — The severe drubbing that the Indian hockey team got at the hands of Korea in the four-nation tournament in Japan, close on the heels of the debacle in Australia where even the lowly Malaysia inflicted a crushing defeat on it, should serve as an eye-opener to the Indian Hockey Federation which is still obsessed with the never-ending process of experimentation at the cost of the country's honour!

It is high time that the Government of India declared a moratorium on experimental teams going abroad. With the Olympics not far away, the IHF should lose no time in selecting the full fledged team with the old war horses, Dhanraj Pillai, Dillon and Saini, who are still considered three of the best in the world, as the nucleus, instead of dilly-dallying with lesser-known players between different camps, and keeping them in a state of nervous suspense.

Players need mental preparedness, relaxation, acclimatisation and opportunities to play together to strike the right combination, the absence of which will adversely affect their morale and performance.

K. P. Ramesh Bhose, Kannur