Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Sydney January 2, 2010

'Kaneria doesn't get the respect he deserves' - Yousuf

Mohammad Yousuf has called on Pakistan to give more respect to the achievements of Danish Kaneria ahead of what could prove to be a crucial Test for the legspinner and his side.

Kaneria is Pakistan's most successful Test spinner in terms of wickets: he overtook Abdul Qadir in the recent Test series in New Zealand and now has 245 wickets from 56 Tests. That puts him in fourth place on the list of Pakistan's highest Test wicket-takers, behind Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan.

Yet the feeling persists in many circles in Pakistan that he has not won enough games, or run through enough established sides often enough. The shadow of Qadir and his exploits, in particular, hangs heavy over him, even if Kaneria's strike rate and wickets per Test record is superior.

"There is no doubt that Danish is a very good bowler for us," Yousuf told Cricinfo. "For eight or nine years he has been taking wickets for us. I am actually disappointed that people don't give him enough hype in Pakistan. That really disappoints me.

"He has done a lot for Pakistan, he has nearly 250 Test wickets but he doesn't get the respect that he deserves. Some players play a few matches or smaller games, do well and become heroes. This is the real tough cricket, where he has done so well, we are not giving him hype and that is unfair. We need to back him and he needs to get respect from everyone."

Kaneria missed the first Test in Melbourne with a finger injury and his absence was keenly felt; Saeed Ajmal bowled well in patches but ended with only two wickets for the game. But he is fit and expected to play a key role at the SCG.

"He's a very good bowler but I saw his record come up against some of the great spinners of the last 10 years and it stacks up very well against the best of them," Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, said. "His record is actually better than Abdul Qadir and everyone knows how highly regarded he was. We have played him here before and he has bowled well."

Kaneria took eight wickets at the SCG on Pakistan's last tour here in 2004-05, including 7 for 188 in the first innings, under Yousuf's captaincy. That performance was part of a breakthrough performance in the Test series in which he ended up as Pakistan's highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets.

Since then he has been a near-permanent presence in the Test XI, though he was dropped for the first time in nearly five years for the first two Tests of the series in Sri Lanka in July last year. He has returned well from the axing, however, having taken 20 wickets in three Tests since then.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo