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November 10, 2006

Spinners

Kaneria must fly

Kamran Abbasi

Once more, the build up has been impressive. You almost believe the hype--again. We have been here before: the promise of Danish, the creation of a spin bowler's paradise, and an opposition deemed unskilled at the art of reading legspin. Danish Kaneria is Pakistan's main strike bowler, says Inzamam, and I suppose in the prevailing circumstances he has a point. But this is a much weaker hand than it could be. By now, Danish should be a deadly weapon. The fact that he isn't is one of the more perplexing issues that engulfs the current team. On the face of it he has it all: legspin, googly, drift, and attitude. Then why has Kaneria failed to fly?

Danish's record looks impressive enough but as ever the statistics obscure the real story of his career. When he emerged Danish looked to be a natural successor to Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed. Indeed, he displayed extraordinary maturity and control for a rookie. A great future was promised. But Danish's career has been one of toil rather than thunder.

The best legspinners are able to run through a batting line-up, they are, as Inzamam says, an attacking option. Danish, however, has never managed to match the threat of Qadir or even Mushtaq, and the question is why? He has become more of a stock bowler than a strike bowler, and that is the wrong mode.

The best reason I have heard is that Danish doesn't really possess a topspinner or a zooter. Shane Warne, who barely has a googly, has become the world's greatest bowler on the threat of his ball that goes straight on. It is a delivery that Qadir and Mushtaq both possessed but Danish hasn't really mastered it. If the batsman does not fear for his stumps then he will bat with little fear.

Whatever the reason, Danish must run through teams more often. Lahore, a ground with a history of great legspin performances, should be inspiration enough. A career that promised wonders has got stuck in third gear. His country's ravaged bowling attack needs him. The judgement on his career hangs in the balance. Kaneria must fly.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Jessica on (September 8, 2012, 20:55 GMT)

, If you would get your mind out of the gutter, you would be a betetr bowler. Naturally at first I was puzzeled, but he told me to concentrate on the goal of the 10 pin and not the hazards around it. Much later I realized he was talking about positive over negative thoughts. A quick flash of thought like, I hope I don't miss it, is a little prophecy that has already programed what I would do. It has proven to me to be accurate in all sports and many other life situations. So as part of my, on approach pre-shot routine after positioning myself, I ask myself how I feel and tell myself what I am going to do, then focus on my target and go. I will back off the approach if I don't feel right or if I have and negative feelings or thoughts, then start over. Since those days, I have had to quit bowling a few times for several years, starting again in 2004. Age has made it more difficult to get back abilities I once had. Case in point, last Monday in league I started the second game with a strike then an open. My opponet started with the first 7 strikes, then spares in the 8th, 9th and 10th. I was able to stay close by adding my own 7 bagger, but needing 1 more strike to acutally take the lead in the 10th frame. Unfortunately, knowing I didn't feel completely right, I threw the shot anyway. I went wide and left the 2 pin, spare, then a perfect shot to lose by 7 pins. Your article reminded me of what I learned as a youth above. What you are saying works! Thanks for teaching and old dog an old trick.

Posted by Kashif on (November 22, 2006, 9:53 GMT)

Hi guys, I think enough have already been said still I w'd like to add 2 points here. Saqlain invented doosra and for first 3 years, stormed the world, Only spin bowler who used to bowl in last 10 overs. Thanks to TV cameras every body found and started doing what he used to do. Secondly Danish is not a match winner (only hyped by Inzi for reasons he may know himself. His figures in the ongoing match tells his story ... 5 for 183 :(

Posted by samad parkar on (November 21, 2006, 11:04 GMT)

danish kaneria,not good enough. simple.he will not get in any other test team.not even bangladesh or zimbabve,why,becuse he cant bowl,bat or field.simple.the 3 disciplines of playing cricket.pakistan has the best leggie in the world who can bat & bowl,yet they will not pick him.i just can not understand,yet we have to watch kaneria.now when he bowls,i go out,becuse i know that he cant take wickets or bowl maidens or trouble the batsman,so what is it that the selectors see in him for the last few years.i have not seen anything for him to be in the team.ahh sorry the bowler i am talking about is mushtaq ahmed. YES, THE GREAT mushie.WHY IS HE NOT IN THE TEAM.ANOTHER 100 WKTS HAULfor sussex helping them to win the title.a match winner.something kaneria will never be.

Posted by Azfar Alam on (November 17, 2006, 11:04 GMT)

Kamran, it is wrong to conclude that kaneria is overrated.He is still young. He has 172 wickets in 41 tests which is very good though he has a 30+ average.He will get better with age.Remember leg-spin is the toughest craft to master in Cricket. Leg spinners need great support from the captain to succeed.Qadir became a great bowler only under Imran. Warne has had a succession of captains who had full faith in him. I won't talk about kumble here because he is not really a leg-spinner.He is more of a top-spinner.We have seen many leg-spinners who succeeded at a young age and then fizzled out Hirwani, Sivaramakrishna, even Mushtaq Ahmad didn't fulfill the promise. Kaneria has been there for 6 years now. If he is handled with care by the captains he will have a long & fruitful career. I have a hunch that once Younis Khan becomes the captain Kaneria will come in his own and will become a world class match winner.......let's see if I am correct.....

Posted by Raza on (November 15, 2006, 13:23 GMT)

We should all accept the Kaneria was unlucky in the last test against West Indies. In that last test numerous cathches were dropped, and Kamran Akmal messed up Chanderpaul's stumping when Chanderpaul was out of his crease chasing a flighted ball. And also, don't forget the number of overs Kaneria is able to bowl, you can just hand the ball to him at the start of the day till the end and he doesn't get too tired. This is the only reason why he's the bowler who gets the most runs scored on. But, obviously, he's not perfect, he does seem pretty predicatable at times. However, once compared to all the other spinners in the domestic season and the squad, I beleive he would be the only one who would catch the selectors eyes.

Posted by Chaudry Hashim Chatta on (November 15, 2006, 13:20 GMT)

Forget Kaneria blame Abbasi for taking so long to put up another blog. Comon man we need another blog after the 1st test results.

Posted by Vamsi Akella on (November 15, 2006, 7:39 GMT)

Hi friends...first of all i have to admit that Kamran has a very good point when he says Danish has not lived upto the expectations. But i also have to agree wid most of the commnets over here that he is one of the finest prospects of the art in world and will mould into a match winner provided he is handled wid care. I also have a important question for you kamran. even though Harbhajan is considered a good off spinner, dont you think he took some time to blossom..and as far as Australia is concerned..its a very difficult place to bowl especially for a legspinner. Australians for all the noise made abt them are very good players of legspin but tend to suffer aginst off-spinners and left armers case in point being success of Muralitharan and Harbhajan.Even Kumble had to wiat till his last tur to do well in Australia. To end my post, Danish is one player i would love watching and iam sure as expected by everybody he will certainly run through sides..may he be treated wid care

Posted by Zuhair on (November 15, 2006, 5:26 GMT)

Kaneria is indeed a touch ovverrated. He looks no where near to Abdul Qadir or even Mushtaq Ahmed. He has no comparison whatsoever with Saqlain,. Saqqi was just too great a bowler to be compared to kanria. i still prsonally feel that saqlain becvame the victim of pakistan cricket politics, otherwise he could have been the first bowler to break wasim's ODI record. Coming back to kaneria, he has a lot to prove in his career. Inzi thinks very high f him and he has hardly delivered ( exceptions are everywhere). If pakistan is reluctant to play mushtaq ahmed in thier squad for some strange reasons, we still have arshad khan as a better choice. Kaneria seems to lack control. he gives a bit to many runs for those wickets he take.

Posted by Omar Khan on (November 15, 2006, 3:04 GMT)

HENCE he could not fly. The fact is he has ample support from the Captain and the Coach and they will try him again and again. The irony is Danish Kaneria's replacement, SHAHID AFRIDI is not even in the TEST SQUAD. The team has won the first test there will be no change in the second. The least they would do is replace IMRAN FARHAT with Faisal Iqbal? Who knows.

Posted by Jawad on (November 14, 2006, 22:08 GMT)

Please stop blaming everybody. So you say Saqlain was over-hyped. Well then I say you haven’t watched him bowl. He was the match winner for PAK. The only spinner in PAK side to bowl alongside legendary Wasim Akram in the last overs of a one-day international. As far as Kaneria is concerned I would say he need to be innovative and a good observer of the game. Well let him play. I support him. If we need to criticize something it’s our infrastructure. No academy, no proper coaching, no proper selection criteria etc. We need to improve here if we want better results. Peace!!!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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