Test for Sourav

Sir, — Sourav Ganguly has finally got another opportunity to prove his credentials at the Test level. He should grab the opportunity with both hands and try to cement his place in the Test squad. He should also use this opportunity to find some form that will help him reclaim his place in the one-day squad.

He is bowling well and picking up wickets with some regularity at the domestic level. If he maintains his bowling form, he can certainly play the role of a third or fourth seam bowler to perfection.

Undoubtedly, the likes of Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando will try to batter his confidence with liberal doses of short-pitched stuff. That said, Sourav's talent and skill are beyond question.

What is likely to be put to test, again, is his big-match temperament.

It's now-or-never for Sourav. The ball is back in his court. He will have to come out of this latest `test' with flying colours. Or perish forever.

Arjun Chaudhuri, Kolkatta Sporting spirit

Sir, — One of the enduring images of `Fourth Umpire', the post-match analysis shown on Doordarshan, during the recent Indo-Lanka series was that of Mohinder Amarnath coming up with a ballad on Dhoni's pyrotechnics and K. Srikkanth giving him impromptu musical support (during the lunch interval of the 4th ODI between India and Sri Lanka).

In an age when most of us go about our business sporting masks of utter seriousness, sport is perhaps the only stage where two middle-aged men, one of them being distinctly grey, express themselves so sentimentally without the fear of being branded as `silly'.

Honestly, passionate expressions — oral or written — in sporting matters are better than curbing yourself.

Suresh Manoharan Hyderabad Yuvraj rules

Sir, — It was a superb century by Yuvraj Singh in the 1st ODI against South Africa in Hyderabad. The century was even more commendable because it came at a time when India had lost quick wickets and were under immense pressure. Unfazed by the chaos around him, Yuvraj kept his cool and continued to play splendid cricketing strokes all round the wicket. With this innings, Yuvraj has enhanced his reputation and, once again, demonstrated his utility in no uncertain terms.

D. Giridhar Chennai Indians shining

Sir, — Kudos to the Indian team for outplaying Sri Lanka in the recently concluded ODI series. In fact, had the team management not overdone the mantra of `fielding youngsters', the result might well have been a clean 7-0 sweep. One of the biggest gains from the series against the Lankans has been that we now have a team that embodies a perfect blend of young and experienced players. We have seen M. S. Dhoni perform aggressively with excellent results. We have also unearthed some fine young talents in R. P. Singh, Sreesanth and Suresh Raina who all have it in them to be potential match winners.

R. P. Singh, for instance, is a very different left arm pace bowler with that rare ability to bowl consistently at the stumps with a high arm action and at good pace. Sreesanth, on the other hand, is faster and a great hope for the future. Suresh Raina, too, impressed with his prowess in the field and with the bat, making useful contributions. The intelligent and consistent Murali Kartik has signalled to the selectors that it's time to consider him seriously for a place in the Test side. Meanwhile, both Venugopala Rao and J. P. Yadav (who has been in the `consideration list' for quite some time now) also came good. Gautam Gambhir — who came up with a fine century — should be persisted with as an opener.

Unfortunately, not all the youngsters could make it into the Test team.

Thanks to Sachin's inspirational return, the discovery of Irfan Pathan as a batsman, Agarkar's new-found consistency and a wave of fresh ideas, we were treated to a great performance by Team India. We can now boast a pool of at least 25 players to look at for the World Cup 2007.

P. Kannan, Srivilliputtur (TN)