Pakistan v South Africa, 1st Test, Karachi, 2nd day October 2, 2007

Kaneria reaches 200 Test wickets

Mathew Varghese
A statistical look-back on Danish Kaneria's exploits as a Test bowler

While more celebrated fast bowlers around him hog the limelight in the Pakistan team, Danish Kaneria has quietly, efficiently found his way to 200 Test wickets. Over the last six years, Kaneria has been both the stock and shock bowler and it's no wonder that he's the team's leading wicket-taker in Tests since 2000.

Pakistan's top Test wicket-takers since 2000
Player Matches Wickets Average Economy rate Strike rate
Danish Kaneria 47 200 32.66 2.95 66.2
Shoaib Akhtar 30 135 21.48 3.39 37.9
Saqlain Mushtaq 25 101 30.56 2.60 70.4
Abdul Razzaq 45 100 36.28 3.15 69.0
Waqar Younis 29 94 27.91 3.35 49.9

Kaneria becomes the third Pakistan spinner to take 200 Test wickets after Abdul Qadir and Saqlain Mushtaq.

Pakistani spinners with 200 Test wickets
Player Matches Wickets Average Economy rate Strike rate
Abdul Qadir 67 236 32.80 2.71 72.5
Saqlain Mushtaq 49 208 29.83 2.64 67.6
Danish Kaneria 47 200 32.66 2.95 66.2

One of Kaneria's qualities has been his performances home and away and it comes as no surprise that his record is fairly similar in Pakistan and outside. Thirteen of his away scalps have come at just 14.15 apiece against Bangladesh.

Danish Kaneria's home and away record
Venue Matches Wickets Average Economy rate Strike rate
Home 22 96 30.04 2.84 63.3
Away 21 97 33.14 3.02 65.8
Neutral 4 7 61.85 3.30 112.2

One of the concerns about Kaneria's bowling has centred around how expensive his wickets have been. His bowling average is in the 20s only against two established teams - Sri Lanka and South Africa - while he's relished playing Bangladesh, with 34 wickets from five matches at an average of 16.41. Remove his statistics against Bangladesh, however, and Kaneria's career bowling average shoots up to 35.99.

The other concern is over his strike rate. Predictably, he has prospered against Bangladesh (36.1), while his overall strike-rate is 66.2. To put things in perspective however, his strike-rate is still better than established, legendary Pakistan spinners before him - Abdul Qadir (72.5), Saqlain Mushtaq (67.6) and Mushtaq Ahmed (67.7).

He also performs remarkably better whenever his team has won, his bowling average and strike-rate showing considerable improvement in contrast to draws and defeats.

Danish Kaneria's record by result
Result Matches Wickets Average Economy rate Strike rate
Win 21 112 22.02 2.67 49.3
Loss 15 54 45.31 3.24 83.7
Draw 10 32 46.68 3.00 93.1

Kaneria has come in for some fearsome punishment from Brian Lara in recent years (who hasn't?) but that is part of a broader pattern which shows that he struggles against left-handers in general.

Danish Kaneria against left and right-hand batsmen
Type of batsman Wickets Average
Left-hand 55 49.89
Right-hand 145 27.02

A majority of Kaneria's victims have been caught; 12.5% were bowled and 14% leg-before. In contrast, the percentage of victims bowled for Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan and Anil Kumble is 16.38%, 21.85% and 15.19% respectively, while 19.49%, 19.00% and 24.91% of their wickets have been leg-before. Kaneria, however, has had 18 batsmen stumped - 9% of his 200 - while the corresponding percentage for the top three spinners is 5.08, 5.28 and 3.53.

Since the time he made his Test debut, Kaneria is one of only five spinners to have taken 200 wickets. Perhaps, Pakistan's inconsistent record in Tests can be explained by the fact that he is the only Pakistani bowler from 13 to take 200 wickets since 2000.

Mathew Varghese is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo