`Punter' who wins

After the Ashes loss of last summer, people were calling for Ricky `Punter' Ponting to be removed as captain. Even the legendary Dennis Lillee did not spare him. But, the Tasmanian has silenced his detractors with his aggressive leadership and Bradmanesque run of scores.

He scored centuries in both innings of his 100th Test — at Sydney in January against South Africa — and the feat is the only one of its kind in the game's long and illustrious history. Ponting has scored centuries in each innings two more times in the post-Ashes scenario — against the West Indies at Gabba last year and at Durban against South Africa in the recently concluded series. The manner in which Ponting is scoring his runs, soon he would have a half century of Test centuries in his kitty.

S. K. Ghose, Kolkata Bravo young guns

After having followed cricket religiously for six decades, I am now glad to note the brighter side of Indian cricket (`A Glorious Transition'). Many youngsters, such as Dhoni, Pathan and Raina to name a few, have remarkably proven their worth in the Indian team. They have made all the cricket fans proud. It is a warning for all the seniors to perform. If the selectors also become unbiased and keep giving chances to youngsters before the World Cup, and make them the nucleus of the prestigious tournament, I am confident that the glory of 1983 will revisit India again.

Ishwar C. Araballi, Bangalore Kudos India

Congratulations to Rahul Dravid and his young team for winning the ODI series against England 5-1. Had the team management left out Sehwag and Kaif at Jamshedpur, India could have won the series 6-0 and increased our winning streak to 17. Anyway, better sense thankfully prevailed in Indore and Sehwag's replacement Uthappa proved himself.

N. Mahadevan, Chennai `Proud Indian' Leander

Fighting sweltering heat, painful cramps and a tenacious Aqeel Khan, Leander Paes scripted one of his greatest victories in the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan in Mumbai. After coursing through the first two sets, a cramping and limping Leander was staring down the barrel as he lost the fourth set. The rest is history. Vintage tennis flowed from Leander's racquet in the fifth set as he reeled off thundering aces, crisp volleys, delicate drop shots and teasing lobs after receiving medical attention. Tears welled up in Leander's eyes when he was serving for the set at 5-1 and 30-0. But he remained focussed to complete the job and fell into the waiting arms of his ecstatic teammates. An exhausted but delighted Leander said, "Today, I'm a proud Indian," a sentiment echoed by millions of his countrymen on the day.

Prof. K. P. Ramesh Bhose, Kannur, Kerala Ganguly for WC

It is necessary to include Sourav Ganguly in the Indian team for the 2007 World Cup. He is an accomplished player in ODIs as well as Test matches.

As captain, he rendered valuable services to Indian cricket. His records show that he is an outstanding player capable of hitting elegant fours and sixes. Though the Indian team has been performing brilliantly in the one-dayers without him, there is a lack of batting experience in this team.

V. V. Ramakrishna Rao, Visakhapatnam Gilly, the legend

Whether it is Test cricket or One-Day Internationals, there is no doubt that the Australian team is the best in the world.

This is the only team that has come out successfully from precarious situations. On most of the occasions it is Adam Gilchrist who help them out of tight situations. Australia would have won about 80 per cent of the matches played by Gilchrist. The recent example is the Fatullah Test in Bangladesh. Had it not been for Gilchrist's 144 in the first innings, the Aussies could have even lost the Test by an innings.

Vinay Mahadevan, Chennai

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