The captain to blame

Being one among the many fans, who rooted for our Men in Blue, I am disappointed the way we lost to the Aussies at Mohali. The irony is, our skipper, instead of taking the blame for his inept captaincy and failure to put up a decent score, blames the bowlers, who had won many matches recently. The so-called world-class batsmen should have scored another 30 to 40 runs and also held on to the catches that came their way.

Incidentally, I feel Ramesh Pawar should have found a place in the playing XI instead of the blue-eyed boy Suresh Raina. Anyway, there is no point in crying over spilt milk. I sincerely wish our new Chairman of the Selection Committee, Dilip Vengsarkar, would not succumb to any pressure from any quarter and would choose the players who perform. Raina and R. P. Singh should be dropped and Zaheer Khan and V. V. S. Laxman should be included in their place. In place of the injured Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir could be accommodated.

N. Mahadevan, Chennai * * * Hard times for cricket

The recent times have been really hard for cricket. First, the ball tampering controversy, followed by Inzamam getting banned for four ODIs. The umpires, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, too were not spared and were kept out of the Champions Trophy.

Then, the captaincy issue involving the Pakistan team and too much of experimentation hurting some players in the Indian squad. Shaharyar Khan resigning his post as the chief of Pakistan cricket. Then the big doping issue. And the never ending complaint about pitches.

Leaving all this aside it was just lovely to watch the Pakistan-Sri Lanka match. It was very, very nice to see true cricket lovers enjoying the match in the stadium. It was good for both teams. It was great for cricket overall. All accolades to the Pakistan team, which was under a threat that it wouldn't be allowed to play in Mumbai if it made the final.

Jaskaran Singh, Chandigarh * * * Martyn leads the way

It was a heroic batting display by Damien Martyn which steered Australia to a victory against India. The ease with which Martyn played the cut and the pull amply highlighted the miserable length that the Indians were bowling. It was embarrassing to watch the bowlers being clouted with inside out strokes right through the Australian innings.

Martyn was well supported by Adam Gilchrist, Shane Watson and the skipper Ricky Ponting.

Not to forget, Glenn McGrath was the pick of the Australian bowlers. He bowled three spells, effectively keeping the batsmen under check.

D. Giridhar, Chennai * * * Schumi, the Great

`The dead man had not just opened his eyes, but he had stood up and walked.' These words of Nirmal Shekar — to describe the Houdini act of Vijay Amritraj in the Davis Cup, while staring down the barrel in a decisive match against Martin Jaite of Argentina in 1987 — come readily to mind while trying to capture the comeback of Michael Schumacher, who mounted a very stiff challenge to Fernando Alonso after the Spaniard had been all set in the early part of this season to come up with an encore of his runaway victory of 2005.

It is a tribute to Schumacher's genius that he not only roared back to life (read contention) but for a while seemed to have eighth title in his grasp before that fateful `many a slip between the cup & the lip' experience — an engine blow out — in the penultimate race of the season.

As he has made his final bow, let's salute the greatest driver to have sat behind the wheel of a FI car, for there may not be yet another like him for some eons.

Suresh Manoharan, Hyderabad