Warne is better

S. Ram Mahesh's Cover Story (Sportstar, August 12), which spun around two legendary spinners who have sent many a batting order on a tailspin, made for interesting reading. As great as Murali is, Warnie would emerge the better of the two in the books of the purists for the simple reason that he is a master of a more difficult craft. No doubt he has been involved in off-the-field controversies, but there has been no stigma attached to his bowling action. The same cannot be said of Muralitharan.

Who is a better person or a better role model for the youngsters when it comes to `off-the-field' conduct? No prizes for guessing the right answer! But we are not debating that, are we?

Suresh Manoharan, Hyderabad Murali is best

Your Cover Story on Warne-Muralitharan by Ram Mahesh was very informative. If you ask me as to who is the better of the two, I would say it is Murali. Warne has always played for the best team with lots of runs to bowl against.

Murali did not have much support from his bowlers or his batsmen. He has been a lone warrior. Many a time Murali's 10-wicket haul has not won the match for his team. Similarly Richard Hadlee took 431 wickets in 86 matches while bowling against teams better than his own. He was the greatest of the fast bowlers.

Dr. V. Ramaprasad, Tiruchirappalli Sheer greatness

I read the article Wrists of Fury (Sportstar, August 12) with great interest. It is one thing to break records, and another to make people fall in love with what you do. The greatness of Murali and Warne is that they have achieved both.

Evangelin Dale Nathan, Hyderabad Ban the cheats

A month ago he was at the top of the world when he finished as champion of Tour de France on the Champs-Elys�es. Today he's accused of doping and has been sacked by his team. Floyd Landis is now awaiting a two-year ban by the anti-doping agency.

At a time when we marvelled at the performances of golfing giant Tiger Woods, bowling genius Muralitharan and some wonderful batting by Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, it was unfortunate that we had to talk of doping scandals of Landis and Gatlin. I hope they are banned for life if proven guilty. Sport would be richer without cheats.

S. Asokan, Boulogne-Billancourt, France No racism this

Cricket has lost its innocence from the days Sir W. G. Grace, with his flowing beard — a `secular' terror with the bat — took guard. This is evident from Australian cricketer-turned-commentator Dean Jones earning the sack by Ten Sports for muttering a slur in the mistaken belief that the mike was off during a commercial break.

Racial slurs are not new to the game. Asian and West Indian players have been at the receiving end of expletives motivated by the colour of the skin by cricketers from different nations. Former England captain Nasser Hussain, himself India-born, described Mohammed Kaif as a "pickpocket". On a larger, political canvas, apartheid South Africa was proscribed from participating in most international sporting events — notably cricket — for more than two decades until the collapse of the discredited regime in that country in 1992. But that was institutionalised racism and sports, which stand for the highest human values of competition with fairness, must forever be free of such prejudices.

To begin with, there wasn't any `racist' subtext to what Jones said. He was reacting to Amla's physical appearance, and not his race per se, in an "off-the-wall" comment that should have evoked wry mirth more than a storm of protest. It could even be construed as underlining civilisational or religious differences; but racist it certainly wasn't.

Dr. David Peniel, Tiruchirapalli