Superb article

Any Nirmal Shekar article stands out for its creative flair, but when he passionately describes a sport artist of iconic status like Andre Agassi, the article simply takes wing and the readers are carried aboard a special `flight of fantasy'.

It is only hoped my favourite writer's article in this issue was not a one-off affair but will be enthralling his old readers on a regular basis.

Suresh Manoharan, Hyderabad Agassi the great

Refer your excellent presentation of Agassi's retirement (Sportstar, Sept. 9). I just want to make one more point, which is: apart from the eight Grand Slams titles he won on four different surfaces, Agassi has also reached the finals of these tournaments a number of times. Had it not been for Pete Sampras, he would have won two or three more Grand Slam titles.

The point here is that it is important to evaluate a great player on his performances in the semi-finals and finals of important events. Besides winning an Olympic gold medal, he also played for the US with great distinction in the Davis Cup.

An in-depth study of his career shows the greatness of the man in all conditions, in different circumstances. His incredible longevity has to be applauded.

P. Nair, Hyderabad The Oval scandal

Ted Corbett's Cover Story, `The umpire who sought a golden handshake' (Sept. 2) was great. I feel that Darrell Hair should not have made the demand.

He was a great umpire, but the damage was done when he demanded half a million dollars to step down. Even though he withdrew his demand later, his reputation was finished. Speed, who disclosed the email, should also have cared for Hair's reputation.

Shaumik Daityari, Duliajan (Assam) Unwarranted action

On the face of it, as per the ICC rules, the action of Darrell Hair might seem right. However, when there is no concrete proof that the Pakistan team tampered with the ball, the umpire's action of changing the ball and awarding penalty runs was unwarranted.

As pointed out by Ted Corbett, Inzamam thought too slowly and Hair thought hastily and too narrowly. Incidentally, nobody knows what was the opinion of the ICC Match Referee and why he did not intervene and avoided this impasse?

Is the Match Referee only ornamental? If that is so, why should the ICC have a Match Referee at all? Definitely cricket deserves men of vision.

N. Mahadevan, Chennai Why compromise?

We need people like Darrel Hair for cricket. It was very unfortunate that when Hair called people for chucking, the rules were amended to allow the `throwers' to play cricket.

Now when he penalises a team for ball tampering, let not the ICC make it legal by allowing one side of the ball to be scuffed. Let the ICC not play with the cricket rules.

Dr. Ramaprasad, Tiruchirappalli Harsh comment

Brian Glanville's comment on John Terry's personal life (Sportstar, Sept. 2) sounded a little harsh. Whatever be his personal life, there is no doubt that he was the obvious choice to captain England.

Girish Baliga B, Mangalore