Dancing to her tune
Sir — Who could have guessed that the way to the hearts of Indians was not through the stomach, but through the feet (“Sonia swings, so does durbar”, Oct 2)' Sonia Gandhi has proved that if you can tap your feet with the masses, the colour of your skin will no longer be a problem, not even if it as fair as J. Jayalalithaa’s. And besides, a daily jig could be as healthy as the daily jog, even healthier since it does wonders for your public image. Is it time then for Atal Bihari Vajpayee to take a break from poetry' No longer weak in the knees, he could easily learn a step or two from the Congress president.
Sebanti Ghosal, Calcutta
A team is born
Sir — The present Indian cricket team led by Sourav Ganguly is capable of winning the World Cup. Forget the disappointment of having had to share the ICC Champion’s Trophy with Sri Lanka. In both the abandoned finals, India looked clearly set to win, having outwitted Sri Lanka in all departments.
Those who argue that the finals could have gone either way because of Sri Lanka’s superior bowling attack need to be reminded of the drubbing the Lankans received in the tri-nation one-day tournament in England. And also of the imposing target of 326 that India chased successfully to beat England in England. Earlier, India’s one-day win over West Indies gave us the first glimpse of their potential. They came close to notching up a hat trick of one-day victories on foreign soil, but the rain gods willed otherwise.
It is time now to rid the team of certain obvious shortcomings. One is the absence of a regular wicket-keeper. The number three batting slot has not been filled properly by either Dinesh Mongia or V.V.S. Laxman. A specialist wicket-keeper who can pitch in with the bat could be inducted now since the rest of the batting order seems well settled. Else, Rahul Dravid will have to do double duty till the world cup.
Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif have proved their competence in chasing stiff targets. However, India’s ability to defend a modest total is still suspect. Had Herchelle Gibbs not retired hurt, South Africa and not India would have been playing the final.
D.V. Vamsee Krishna, Bhubaneswar
Sir — The performance of the Indian cricket team in the ICC champions trophy was praiseworthy. Apart from the fact that the youngsters put up match-winning performances, what is encouraging is that the team has been able to shake off the tag of being “chokers”, witness the remarkable comebacks against Zimbabwe and South Africa. The debate about whether Sachin Tendulkar should open should be put to rest considering that India have won 14 of the last 17 matches with him batting in the middle order. In the bouncy pitches of South Africa, Tendulkar’s presence in the middle order will only boost the batting. The interests of the team should be put before individual preference.
Anagh Pal, Calcutta
Sir — The ICC Champions Trophy exposed once more the weakness of the Indian bowling attack. Even Zimbabwe almost beat India, scoring 274 in reply to India’s 288. And how could England get to a score of over 260 after being 7 for 2 at one stage' In the second aborted final, even after Sanath Jayasuriya got out the first ball, Sri Lanka managed to score 222. It is only thanks to the batsmen that India reached the finals. The time has come to replace Javagal Srinath, Ajit Agarkar and Anil Kumble. And these changes must be made fast, in view of the world cup next year.
Kalyan Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — Although the ICC Champion’s Trophy in Colombo did not turn out to be as happy as it could have been, there are several positive aspects to it. After a long time, India truly played as a team, and even its middle order, which only seemed formidable in theory, clicked. What is more important is that the team showed all the signs of getting over its dependence on Sachin Tendulkar’s bat. With the world cup only a few months away, India need to work on their bowling now. The rest will fall into place automatically.
Rajat Bakshi, Dumka