Simply superb

Sir, — The new-look Sportstar is simply superb. I remember the day, in 1980, when I held the last issue of The Sportstar in its previous tabloid avatar and wondered what a magazine format will do to the thrills of reading sport. I have always relished the sports pages of The Hindu more than the glossy The Sportstar.

Sport is alive only in the pages of a newspaper and see, what dramatic results you have achieved with the new format. If my memory serves me right, I think Tracy Austin, that wonderful tennis player, graced the cover of the first issue of The Sportstar in the magazine format. I am of the view that you have been late by a generation or more in reintroducing the tabloid format for Sportstar. The reduction of price was unexpected even though your magazine is the only sports tabloid in India. You alone can do this. When my friend and I attended the Alan Rusbridger and Ian Mayes lectures in Chennai, my friend spoke (not at the meeting) in favour of reducing the cover price of The Hindu, which I opposed. Is this the thin end of the wedge?

Chidambaram Kudiaraju, Tuticorin Mind-blowing

Sir, — To be frank, I was sceptical when I first read the news of the launch of the revamped Sportstar. But it was only till I got to lay my hands on the issue. It knocked me off my feet! I really feel that Mr. Mario Garcia has done a prim and proper job that has given the all-time favourite magazine immense appeal.

The size of the tabloid is such that it helps cover a story on a single page. The new font is a lot more easy on the eye. The subscription offer is the icing on the cake.

I have a request. It would be really nice if the reverse sides of the centrefold star poster are left blank as you used to in the earlier format. I am aware that it would mean wasting a journalist's canvas, but there are people who want to keep their magazine complete and intact, and it's very hard to tear out a poster with its reverse side full of interesting reading.

Asif S. Kalam By e-mail Size is uncomfortable

Sir, — "Change is the only constant feature of the world," goes the saying. So, Sportstar also has taken a new avatar, following in the footsteps of its parent daily The Hindu. The tabloid format has certainly helped enhance the appearance of the weekly considerably. Readers of my age may find the new font quite comfortable to read during late hours, which was not the case with the old Sportstar.

One of the few constraints in the new format is that the size of the magazine is a little uncomfortable for handling. In the case of the old format, whether you were in bed or at the dining table, you could hold the magazine conveniently with one hand and carry on with other work simultaneously. But now it is a great tussle trying to hold the magazine, as it requires more space at the table. I am very disappointed that the `Crossword' section is missing. Have we seen its end?

V. Pandy, Tuticorin Unsporting behaviour

Sir, — Apart from the tons of runs, the second Test in Faisalabad will be remembered for the nasty and unsporting behaviour of some of the Pakistani players, who simply couldn't come to terms with Dhoni and Pathan piling up runs. If Shoaib Akhtar does not behave like the way he did in the second Test it is news, but it was astonishing to see Afridi, Kaneria, and vice-captain Younis Khan behaving badly on the field.

The match referee and the ICC should take a serious view of sledging, taunting and heckling by the players. It was shocking to see Inzamam-ul-Haq cover up for his players by saying it was all a part of the game and that the players indulged in sledging only out of frustration.

Akhtar gave three different statements on the beamer he bowled to Dhoni. First he said he apologised to Dhoni on the pitch (Dhoni never heard it). He next said he went to the Indian dressing room and apologised to Dhoni. Later, he said he should have apologised to the Indian on the field but was too involved with the game. The truth is, Akhtar never apologised.

P. V. Prasad Rao, Hyderabad