England v Pakistan, 1st npower Test, Trent Bridge July 29, 2010

Uncertain Kaneria fails to make his mark

It was a day begging for the spinners to take control. Yet Pakistan's most experienced Test player, and their premier slow bowler, failed to rise to the occasion
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Under bright skies in Nottingham and on a dry, low pitch, today was not a day for the fast bowlers to run rampant. Instead with plenty of turn on offer it was a day begging for the spinners to take control. Yet Pakistan's most experienced Test player, and their premier slow bowler, failed to rise to the occasion. Danish Kaneria will do well to keep his head down.

After the first session, where Mohammad Aamer had grabbed a couple of early wickets, Pakistan returned with a plan. First Mohammad Asif attacked Kevin Pietersen's off stump fervently and was rewarded when he got his man for the fifth time in seven games in England. Soon afterwards Aamer defeated Jonathan Trott's shuffle across the stumps to trap him leg before. With two new batsmen and Pakistan on top, Salman Butt brought Kaneria into the attack.

Having played 61 Tests Kaneria knew the plan: fire in the stock delivery and keep firing. It was the best way to play on the batsman's patience. Instead, for some inexplicable reason, Kaneria kept rushing in to deliver flatter, faster and fuller. Line, length, flight, variation - the basics of slow bowling - were completely ignored on the first day.

Throughout his five spells, Kaneria arrived at the crease like an ill-prepared student at an exam. Edgy, he was randomly ticking boxes, stabbing in the dark for the right formula. Eoin Morgan and Paul Collingwood sensed his anxiety and took full advantage. Full tosses were driven handsomely through yawning gaps on both sides of the wicket and straight balls were either deflected or cut with power for easy runs. Morgan, playing only his third Test, could even unleash his trademark reverse sweep as Kaneria sent down another innocuous leg break - a shot which created further gaps in an already stretched field.

Sadly, Pakistan's captain must share part of the blame. Considering the pitch was offering generous turn and surprising uneven bounce at times, Butt would've done well to keep Kaneria locked in at one end. In the past Kaneria has shown the appetite to bowl long spells and build pressure on the batsmen. A recent example was in Sydney at the beginning of this year where, returning from a finger injury, he spun a tight web around the nervous Australian middle order and, were it not for the appalling glovework of Kamran Akmal, would've helped Pakistan to victory.

Yet here Kaneria was not allowed to settle. He should have prodded and pleaded his skipper, still an infant as captain, to leave him operating at one end. That might have helped him buy time to work out the right plan to overhaul the opponent, but it wasn't to be.

As the English pair grew confident Kaneria grew timid. He was twitching and frustrated. It did not help when Akmal, the worst offender of the day, missed an easy stumping when Collingwood charged. Kaneria couldn't believe it but it was, of course, not the first time. At the SCG Kamran had failed to get rid of Michael Hussey three times in one Kaneria over including a stumping opportunity. It was that sort of a day for Pakistan's two most experienced players - both displayed frayed nerves, distracted mindsets and a complete lack of authority.

Nevertheless Kaneria cannot hang on to that one missed opportunity because it was the only chance he created in 21 overs. There was so much more he could have done. For starters he could have set his own fields, something successful bowlers always like to do. It was his responsibility in the light of Butt's inexperience. Minor things like that always prove pivotal in a Test.

Kaneria is Pakistan's fourth-best bowler of all time in terms of wickets but is yet to show the pro-activeness to impose himself, to take the decisions that will prove decisive or to have the aura past bowling greats like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir possessed. Instead he is happy to be put on a leash and be led.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on July 30, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    Well I totally agree with Adnan143. Kaneria was never a good bowler. He has been overrated by Pakistan. Infact, Saeed Ajmal is also a bad option for Test Matches. Frankly speaking Pakistan lack is lacking in a Test Spinner after the fall of Saqlain Mushtaq.

  • hasan.cheema on July 30, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    i am pure pakistan fan of cricker. and i never like kineria,, even when he took 7+ wickets against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.... kineria is over rated... highly rated... I recomment to kineria to follow afridi and retire after this test match

  • nedian on July 30, 2010, 12:07 GMT

    Totally agree with Adnan. Kaneria our co called mystery trump card is one of the most over rated spinner. He might have the talent and variety but doesnt possess the mental aptitude to succeed at this level. Despite playing so many test matches and taking bucket load of wkts cant be called as our match winner. He can only take wkts after scoring a bowling ton. Should be dropped ASAP and Ajmal shd be given consistent chance in test cricket.

  • on July 30, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    6 LAHORE PLAYERS AND TOTAL 9 PLAYERS FOR PUNJAB, I CONSIDER IT AS A PUNJAB XI RATHER THEN PAKISTAN XI!!!

  • on July 30, 2010, 9:36 GMT

    PAKISTAN SHOULD EX KAMRAN AKMAL ( POOR WICKETKEEPER,CREATES POLITICS IN THE TEAM) THEY SHOULD CONSIDER SARFARAZ AHMAD (KARACHI DOLPHINS WICKETKEEPER) FOR TEST MATCHES

  • Adnan143 on July 30, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    you must be kidding, when ever dansih has made his mark in test cricket? five for 150+ is not a bowler. he is one of the most over rated player in recent history of pak cricket

  • Fast-Bowler on July 30, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    pithch is offering lots of swing, but kaneria kep the very basic wrong, he was a complete fail not only on day first but n the previous two maatches agannst aus as well..............its the best time to replace him with ajmal or rehman,,,,,,,,or any other fast bowler,,,,,,,lets see wht pak batters do..........

  • MFNadeem on July 30, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Kaneria's biggest problem is that he has no patience. He wants to get wickets on every ball and he can't plan for a wicket as Warnee or Kumble used to do. I still believe that Afridi was a much better bet as a leg spinner in tests. But alas, he made a pathetic decision to get retirement. He was aggressive and was a nightmare for tail enders. Kaneria can't even pick tail. :(

  • Nrao786 on July 30, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    That's the issue with Kaneria, despite all his Test experience he seems to be starting afresh......he should demand his fields and state his preferences. I dont think Salman can be blamed for the situation, as the bowling was awful and inconsistent. Maybe a more established captain may have persevered but Salman being a newbie reacted as expected.

    I also think Akmal and Gul have a lot to answer for...

    Gul with Kaneria, has been really wayward...there is no point in Gul showing his worth in the last period of the day when the game has slipped!!

    Aus win guaranteed no team changes, but for the bowling i would change to Abdur Rehman (decent fielder and batsman) and request for Mohd Irfan. Wahab Riaz is a very average leftie - similar to RP Singh with less experience.

    Mohd Irfan is 6'8, leftie and bowls mid-80s with natural bounce.....

  • girikula on July 30, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    Why blame Kaneria alone when non other bowler failed pick a wicket later? Ball was doing something in the morning hence the wickets. After that nothing happened and can't blame Danish alone. Pak have a poor and inexperienced captain and blame should go to him as well. Isntit?

  • on July 30, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    Well I totally agree with Adnan143. Kaneria was never a good bowler. He has been overrated by Pakistan. Infact, Saeed Ajmal is also a bad option for Test Matches. Frankly speaking Pakistan lack is lacking in a Test Spinner after the fall of Saqlain Mushtaq.

  • hasan.cheema on July 30, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    i am pure pakistan fan of cricker. and i never like kineria,, even when he took 7+ wickets against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.... kineria is over rated... highly rated... I recomment to kineria to follow afridi and retire after this test match

  • nedian on July 30, 2010, 12:07 GMT

    Totally agree with Adnan. Kaneria our co called mystery trump card is one of the most over rated spinner. He might have the talent and variety but doesnt possess the mental aptitude to succeed at this level. Despite playing so many test matches and taking bucket load of wkts cant be called as our match winner. He can only take wkts after scoring a bowling ton. Should be dropped ASAP and Ajmal shd be given consistent chance in test cricket.

  • on July 30, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    6 LAHORE PLAYERS AND TOTAL 9 PLAYERS FOR PUNJAB, I CONSIDER IT AS A PUNJAB XI RATHER THEN PAKISTAN XI!!!

  • on July 30, 2010, 9:36 GMT

    PAKISTAN SHOULD EX KAMRAN AKMAL ( POOR WICKETKEEPER,CREATES POLITICS IN THE TEAM) THEY SHOULD CONSIDER SARFARAZ AHMAD (KARACHI DOLPHINS WICKETKEEPER) FOR TEST MATCHES

  • Adnan143 on July 30, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    you must be kidding, when ever dansih has made his mark in test cricket? five for 150+ is not a bowler. he is one of the most over rated player in recent history of pak cricket

  • Fast-Bowler on July 30, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    pithch is offering lots of swing, but kaneria kep the very basic wrong, he was a complete fail not only on day first but n the previous two maatches agannst aus as well..............its the best time to replace him with ajmal or rehman,,,,,,,,or any other fast bowler,,,,,,,lets see wht pak batters do..........

  • MFNadeem on July 30, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Kaneria's biggest problem is that he has no patience. He wants to get wickets on every ball and he can't plan for a wicket as Warnee or Kumble used to do. I still believe that Afridi was a much better bet as a leg spinner in tests. But alas, he made a pathetic decision to get retirement. He was aggressive and was a nightmare for tail enders. Kaneria can't even pick tail. :(

  • Nrao786 on July 30, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    That's the issue with Kaneria, despite all his Test experience he seems to be starting afresh......he should demand his fields and state his preferences. I dont think Salman can be blamed for the situation, as the bowling was awful and inconsistent. Maybe a more established captain may have persevered but Salman being a newbie reacted as expected.

    I also think Akmal and Gul have a lot to answer for...

    Gul with Kaneria, has been really wayward...there is no point in Gul showing his worth in the last period of the day when the game has slipped!!

    Aus win guaranteed no team changes, but for the bowling i would change to Abdur Rehman (decent fielder and batsman) and request for Mohd Irfan. Wahab Riaz is a very average leftie - similar to RP Singh with less experience.

    Mohd Irfan is 6'8, leftie and bowls mid-80s with natural bounce.....

  • girikula on July 30, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    Why blame Kaneria alone when non other bowler failed pick a wicket later? Ball was doing something in the morning hence the wickets. After that nothing happened and can't blame Danish alone. Pak have a poor and inexperienced captain and blame should go to him as well. Isntit?

  • MFNadeem on July 30, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    Just check cricinfo STATSGURU. Would you believe it, that Kaneria averages 42 in last three years (played 15 tests) and averages 39.35 in last 5 years (in 33 tests). My grandma can bowl better than him. If selectors can't see these stats, then they must be sleeping. If Younis Khan can be dropped on the basis of his recent form, then how come Kaneria is playing for last 5 years with such performance.

  • MFNadeem on July 30, 2010, 5:44 GMT

    I don't remember any test since last three years, when Kaneria looked threatening. Why can't Pakistani selectors find another leg spinner.

  • girikula on July 30, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    You can not blame bowler alone when you have an inexperienced and un-fit captain. Butt is best among worst kind of captain. He would not have got even miles close to captaincy if Younis and Malik were in good mood.

    Seamers did impact when ball was doing something. After that NO OTHER BOWLER got a wicket, why blame Kaneria alone?

  • SyedArbabAhmed on July 30, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    The problem is that Pakistan did not prepare any backup for any of the place in the team, and Kaneria is not any exception, he is not working hard on his bowling because he knows that there is nobody sitting in the dressing room to replace him, so weather he performs or not he'll remain in the team.

  • Ali_J_01 on July 30, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Kamral Akamal is Kaneria's worst nightmare. He is unlucky to have Kamral Akmal keep his bowling, other wise he would have more wickets. Not to mention Kamral dropped a lollypop catch yesterday on Aamir bowling that could have let us a good start, and missed a simple stumping on Kaneria. Cant blame bowler for everything. Kamral Akmal should be accountable for atleast missed chances.

  • Nadeem1976 on July 30, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    Kaneria is an ordinary bowler. He is out of form and but pakistan dont have better spinner than him so we have to stick with him for as long as possible.

    Good thing about leg spinners that when they take wickets they take in bundles and destroy the opposition , i hope in one innings Kaneria will try to do that in england.

    Otherwise only rely on fast bowlers and keep on praying.

    No disoppointment.

  • Rooboy on July 30, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    Remember about five years ago Kaneria telling eveyone how he was better than Warne and would be remembered as the superior bowler? *lol*!! His extreme lack of humility looks quite silly now. Sure, Warne was arrogant too but he walked the walk, whereas Danish can only talk the talk.

  • A_S_M on July 30, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    I think it is worth considering Afridi in place of Kaneria - both are leg break bowlers, and Afridi can be just as good (if not perhaps better, at times) than Kaneria. Afridi 'retired' from tests mainly on account of his batting. However, he has proven himself to be a potent force as a bowling option on many and several occasions. He could play as a preferred specialist spin bowler (or bowling allrounder) under Salman Butt and he will not feel the pressure to perform to his best this way. He has shown to not only contain the batsmen but also to take wickets. In addition, when in the mood or in the 'right' frame of mind, he can contribute with the bat as well. He could me made to bat at the same position as Kaneria in tests. Likewise, it may be possible to switch occasionally between Afridi and A Razzak -the latter being a proven allrounder. Razzak has often been very handy with the ball and can contribute well with the bat as well.

  • on July 29, 2010, 23:26 GMT

    "Kaneria is Pakistan's fourth-best bowler of all time in terms of wickets"

    that's amazing.

  • on July 29, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    please for the love of SANITY!!drop this so called spinner and bring in ajmal!!!the old school thinking of a leggy bowling on any track only works when the leggy is GOOD,not someone who bores the batsmen into giving away there wicket!!kaneria lacks any proper planning for the long haul,he just gives one random delivery after another and at this level that is quite pathetic especially if u call urself pakistans leading wicket taker(qadir is king as far as pakistani leggies go and its sad that danish has been allowed to overtake him wickets wise).PLEASE find sanity pak selectors and bring in ajmal,one bad series cant stop a guy who would thrive in test cricket with his excellent variations and econ rate in the limited forms...

  • afridiq on July 29, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    This is just typical Pakistan. Kamran Akmal has definitely got a record which will not be broken by any current or future wicketkeeper. He is just awful, his batting isn't even that good for him to hold on to this position. But unfortunately a decent wicketkeeper for that matter has also not been groomed to step in.

    England has already got more than a good total and they are going to control the game from here on in. Kaneria even with a lot of experience is just not threatening any more, he tries to bowl with too much variety every bowl and complicates things for himself.

  • on July 29, 2010, 22:26 GMT

    Kaneria is a player of low-profile matches .. he is nt kind of warniee or kumble..never stood up for his team in last 3 or 4 years..STATS : love to get tailenders

  • Bilal_S on July 29, 2010, 22:23 GMT

    This is brutal. I'm not sure whether Butt can be blamed with regards to Kaneria's short spells, considering the way he was bowling. Field settings input would have helped from Kaneria. Hopefully he will do better tomorrow.

  • Yassar on July 29, 2010, 21:06 GMT

    Kaneria might not have had a good day but Salman Butts handling of his premier spinner was also a contributory factor. It seems as if he nerver backs him. Twice he threw the ball to Shoaib Malik a part-timer before giving it to Kaneria...not what does that say to Kaneria in terms of confidence. He also gave him short spells and it meant he never found his rhythm. Butt seems to not have much patience for Kaneria if things are not going well.

  • on July 29, 2010, 21:05 GMT

    both ks kamran and kaneria should b dropped 4m da team coz wt can they do is to gift the match to the opposition. they are good for nothing and malik too. i think both the Ys should cm bk 2 the team and younis can do keeping aswel then they can hope for something otherwise................................. whitewashhhhhhhhhhh

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  • on July 29, 2010, 21:05 GMT

    both ks kamran and kaneria should b dropped 4m da team coz wt can they do is to gift the match to the opposition. they are good for nothing and malik too. i think both the Ys should cm bk 2 the team and younis can do keeping aswel then they can hope for something otherwise................................. whitewashhhhhhhhhhh

  • Yassar on July 29, 2010, 21:06 GMT

    Kaneria might not have had a good day but Salman Butts handling of his premier spinner was also a contributory factor. It seems as if he nerver backs him. Twice he threw the ball to Shoaib Malik a part-timer before giving it to Kaneria...not what does that say to Kaneria in terms of confidence. He also gave him short spells and it meant he never found his rhythm. Butt seems to not have much patience for Kaneria if things are not going well.

  • Bilal_S on July 29, 2010, 22:23 GMT

    This is brutal. I'm not sure whether Butt can be blamed with regards to Kaneria's short spells, considering the way he was bowling. Field settings input would have helped from Kaneria. Hopefully he will do better tomorrow.

  • on July 29, 2010, 22:26 GMT

    Kaneria is a player of low-profile matches .. he is nt kind of warniee or kumble..never stood up for his team in last 3 or 4 years..STATS : love to get tailenders

  • afridiq on July 29, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    This is just typical Pakistan. Kamran Akmal has definitely got a record which will not be broken by any current or future wicketkeeper. He is just awful, his batting isn't even that good for him to hold on to this position. But unfortunately a decent wicketkeeper for that matter has also not been groomed to step in.

    England has already got more than a good total and they are going to control the game from here on in. Kaneria even with a lot of experience is just not threatening any more, he tries to bowl with too much variety every bowl and complicates things for himself.

  • on July 29, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    please for the love of SANITY!!drop this so called spinner and bring in ajmal!!!the old school thinking of a leggy bowling on any track only works when the leggy is GOOD,not someone who bores the batsmen into giving away there wicket!!kaneria lacks any proper planning for the long haul,he just gives one random delivery after another and at this level that is quite pathetic especially if u call urself pakistans leading wicket taker(qadir is king as far as pakistani leggies go and its sad that danish has been allowed to overtake him wickets wise).PLEASE find sanity pak selectors and bring in ajmal,one bad series cant stop a guy who would thrive in test cricket with his excellent variations and econ rate in the limited forms...

  • on July 29, 2010, 23:26 GMT

    "Kaneria is Pakistan's fourth-best bowler of all time in terms of wickets"

    that's amazing.

  • A_S_M on July 30, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    I think it is worth considering Afridi in place of Kaneria - both are leg break bowlers, and Afridi can be just as good (if not perhaps better, at times) than Kaneria. Afridi 'retired' from tests mainly on account of his batting. However, he has proven himself to be a potent force as a bowling option on many and several occasions. He could play as a preferred specialist spin bowler (or bowling allrounder) under Salman Butt and he will not feel the pressure to perform to his best this way. He has shown to not only contain the batsmen but also to take wickets. In addition, when in the mood or in the 'right' frame of mind, he can contribute with the bat as well. He could me made to bat at the same position as Kaneria in tests. Likewise, it may be possible to switch occasionally between Afridi and A Razzak -the latter being a proven allrounder. Razzak has often been very handy with the ball and can contribute well with the bat as well.

  • Rooboy on July 30, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    Remember about five years ago Kaneria telling eveyone how he was better than Warne and would be remembered as the superior bowler? *lol*!! His extreme lack of humility looks quite silly now. Sure, Warne was arrogant too but he walked the walk, whereas Danish can only talk the talk.

  • Nadeem1976 on July 30, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    Kaneria is an ordinary bowler. He is out of form and but pakistan dont have better spinner than him so we have to stick with him for as long as possible.

    Good thing about leg spinners that when they take wickets they take in bundles and destroy the opposition , i hope in one innings Kaneria will try to do that in england.

    Otherwise only rely on fast bowlers and keep on praying.

    No disoppointment.