World Cup 2007 February 13, 2007

The Kaneria conundrum

Kaneria has been a conundrum

In a few hours the World Cup squad will be announced and something has been bothering me since we started the debate on who should be in and who out. What's bothering me is this: Pakistan's bowling attack can have a toothless look to it, particularly if Shoaib Akhtar is injured--and who knows what might happen if Asif's niggle becomes more serious?

One of the reasons Pakistan won in 1992 and Australia won in 1999 was that a legspinner was a threat in the middle of the innings. It wasn't a case of the opposition milking the bowling, instead they had to bat for their lives. Some commentators--including many of you on this blog--have called for Kaneria to be selected. Given the uncertainty with Pakistan's other wicket-taking bowlers, I'd say that the clamour for Kaneria is a just one. This might spell bad news for Abdur Rehman or Azhar Mahmood, but I'd make one essential change to my squad and Kaneria would make the cut. Let's hope he's there. Defending against Kaneria in Test cricket has been possible but attacking him in the one-day game might be a different matter altogether.

Kaneria has been a conundrum. He should have been tried earlier. Some of you will say that this is a mark of my insanity or evidence of my desperation but Kaneria could be the matchwinner that Pakistan's bowlers can rally around. Will Bari, Bob, and Inzy do it?

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