India in Pakistan 2008-09 November 20, 2008

Coach backs Kaneria to regain form

Cricinfo staff

Intikhab Alam: "[Danish] Kaneria is still a very good legspinner. We should give him confidence and help him regain self-belief " © AFP

Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, has backed legspinner Danish Kaneria to bounce back during India's forthcoming visit early next year. Kaneria has not played a first-class game since he broke a finger while representing Essex, and in his past has been reprimanded by the PCB after making comments on his demotion to category C among Pakistan's centrally-contracted players.

"Kaneria is still a very good legspinner," Alam told the News. "We should give him confidence and help him regain self-belief and once he [Kaneria] does that I'm sure he will do wonders for us."

Kaneria has been a regular in Pakistan's Test team since his debut in 2000, and with 220 wickets in 51 Tests, he's only 16 behind Abdul Qadir's tally of 216 scalps. But Kaneria hasn't cemented a place in the limited-overs side, last playing during the 2007 World Cup. His last appearance for Pakistan was against India in Bangalore; he had a poor run during the three Tests, and since then Pakistan have not played five-day cricket.

"You cannot just label a player by saying that he is only good enough for Tests or one-dayers," he said. "As far as Kaneria is concerned I'm sure we can get the best out of him in any form of cricket. He can once again be a true match-winner."

Kaneria has recovered from his finger injury - he had a wire inserted to aid mend the fracture - and is expected to return for India's visit, which has recently been under doubt due to security concerns. The coach expects a fully-prepared team to take on the traditional rivals. "I want my team to be the best possible and best prepared for the series against India," he said. "We need our fast bowlers and the spinners to be fully ready while the batsmen should also be prepared."