LETTERS

Sensational win

Sir, — Congratulations to Brian Lara and his team for pulling off a sensational win in the ICC Champions Trophy final. The Caribbeans displayed tremendous determination and team spirit to overcome more fancied teams. All credit to Browne and Bradshaw for guiding the Windies to victory from a precarious 147 for 8 in the final. One hopes that this is the beginning of many such triumphs for Lara and Co. England's performance too was laudable as it upset world champions Australia in the semi-final. Michael Vaughan led from the front with his inspired captaincy. But his decision not to bowl Ashley Giles in the final cost his team dear and it proves that even the best of captain's knuckle under pressure. The tournament witnessed many mismatches and kicked off only in the second week.

K. Paul Abraham, Chemmalamattom P.O., Kerala Sachin missed

Sir, — The much hyped Indian bowlers could not dismiss even the Kenyan team in the ICC Champions Trophy. And with Sachin Tendulkar out of action, the Indian team looked a lot more weaker. To avoid one-sided matches they must conduct a mini World Cup among the qualifiers and the cellar teams of the last World Cup. Only the finalists should be allowed to contest the World Cup along with the Super Six sides to play round robin in the 2007 edition.

A.G. Kanetkar, Mumbai Change the attitude

Sir, — From the way India performed in the ICC Champions Trophy, it looks as if our selectors have to change their attitude. They have been looking for a wicket-keeper-batsman and pace bowling allrounder. But for how long? They have tested a lot of players like Prasad, Dighe, Dasgupta, Dahia, Ratra, Patel, etc. It seems that the wicket-keeper's slot is only a game of musical chairs. So far it is not clear how good Dinesh Kaarthik is? But it is time to relieve Dravid from the extra load of keeping wickets in one-dayers. The hunt for a pace bowling allrounder has also been on for quite a few years. They have been giving number of chances to Agarkar, while a player like Lakshmiratan Shukla has been measured only on the basis of a single match. Then it was the turn of another talented player J. P. Yadav. Even one like Devendra Bundela has not been tested yet. On the contrary Rohan Gavaskar has been getting many chances.

Pallav Borpatra Gohain, Assam No fight

Sir, — In the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian team went down without any fight in the last three tournaments. Where have all our match-winners gone? Sachin's absence creates a big void in the team and nobody can fill the gap. His mere presence in the middle boosts the morale of the team and he is the player most opponents dread. His true value can be felt only when he is out of the team. So come back Sachin.

Dibin Jacob, Thrissur Selection and strategy

Sir, — The Indian cricket team is going through a low. The morale is low and confidence jittery. We fans need to realise that they do not need criticism but our support. They feel dejected because they are losing, no problem about that if injury and form is the reason. If the problem is strategy and selections then it is a different thing altogether.

Doubts have been raised on the selection of Rohan Gavaskar for the Holland Tri-Series and the Champions Trophy. My question is why did they pick Rohan ahead of Dinesh Mongia when the latter is playing county cricket for Lancashire and is in good touch. Was he not picked ahead of V.V.S. Laxman in the 2003 World Cup and now he is ignored altogether?

I feel the reason for India's inconsistency in ODI's is that we don't have a `finisher'. Someone like Bevan, Razzaq, Flintoff or Cairns. We need someone who is a specialist `finisher'. Someone with ability to strike the ball hard and clean. Sehwag does it at the top which is fine but you always need a player who can score quick and maintain a good run rate in the slog overs. Dravid and Kaif are good workers of the ball and run well but not big hitters.

Karan Jivrajani, Rajkot A request

Sir, — I am an admirer of your magazine. And I have one request. You publish so many reports about English football. But you ignore the other leagues of Europe — Spanish Primera, Serie A, etc. Please cover European football in detail. The special coverage of Olympics was very good, but I feel you didn't give due importance to swimming. The issue dated August 28 had a picture of Phelps on the corner of the cover, but there was no in depth analysis of his performance in Athens.

Solaiman Palash, Dhaka