We need Speeds

The reports of Darrell Hair's astonishingly prejudiced behaviour cooled my Friday morning coffee (that is the day Sportstar reaches my city). It was most unethical of him to demand $500,000 to retire quietly. The umpire who expected the players to play by the rules was now bending the rules for his personal benefit.

The speed with which Malcolm Speed, the Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council, acted in response to Hair's grossly unprofessional behaviour has to be lauded. I only wish we had more administrators like him in cricket.

Duke Jonathan Jeyaraj Hyderabad Big blow to cricket

The latest crisis involving umpire Darrell Hair is a big blow to the game of cricket. Hair has a reputation for being biased against the teams of the Sub-continent. But if one has to judge Hair by his past deeds then the same would be applicable to the Pakistan team too. The Pakistan players have been guilty of ball tampering in the past just as Hair has been biased against the Subcontinent teams.

Hair acted according to the law and awarded five penalty runs to the England team because in his opinion the ball was tampered with even though there was no clear evidence to prove it. But the Pakistani players deciding not to take the field after tea in protest against Hair's decision is not acceptable. Skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq should have settled the matter after the day's play by lodging a formal complaint or seeking an explanation. Had Hair allowed the game to go on when the Pakistan team took the field after a delay of 45 minutes, he would have set a bad example for the future of the game. I think Hair took the right decision.

S. Asokan Boulogne-Billancourt, France. Hair not fair

I am not a fan of the Pakistan cricket team, but I feel that they got a poor decision from Hair. Without any conclusive evidence it was ridiculous for the umpire to penalise Pakistan for ball tampering.

I totally disagree with the manner in which the Pakistan team registered its protest. Banning Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq for two or three matches is not going to make any difference to his bank balance. I reckon, the ICC should take strong action against the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Rakesh K. Calicut. Holland favourite

This is in reference to S. Thyagarajan's article `Netherlands looks formidable' (Sportstar, Sept. 9). After seeing the excellent performance of the Dutch team in the Azlan Shah tournament, there is no doubt that the Netherlands is the favourite to lift the 2006 World Cup.

However, if we have some luck, as envisaged by our coach V. Baskaran, I am sure we would finish on the podium after a gap of three decades.

I wish the Indian team success in Germany. M. Srikanth Bur Dubai, Dubai.