Danish Parabha Shanker Kaneria
December 16, 1980, Karachi, Sind
Right hand Bat
Danish Kaneria will end his career as the highest wicket-taking spinner for Pakistan - itself an achievement - but he will probably be remembered more as the cricketer who was banned for life by the ECB after being found guilty of corruption in a spot-fixing case. Kaneria took 276 international wickets and more than 1000 first-class ones, but the spot-fixing saga has blotted his CV irretrievably.
As a player Kaneria had several things going for him. Only the second Hindu to play for Pakistan, Kaneria had many admirable traits, many necessary to make a good legspinner. His height purchased good bounce - though not always flight - and he could turn the ball significantly. Though the googly was overexposed, Richie Benaud once reckoned it to be among the best-disguised he had seen. Above all he had perseverance, and right or wrong, had served often as shock and stock bowler.
But something was missing - the unknown quantity that makes great leggies great. It was not so much in Kaneria's tools but in his persona, and a peculiar lack of guile, especially if he was to be compared to countrymen such as Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed, both of whom had wonderful presence. In turn, Kaneria also lacked a good captain, or always good supporting bowlers at the other end. Latterly he suffered the lack of even an able wicketkeeper.
His best period was in the years after 2004, when he produced critical spells around the world, against Sri Lanka, England and West Indies, and lionhearted ones against Australia and India. But he didn't kick on, and in his last year for Pakistan his strike rate expanded alarmingly.
Then came the corruption charge. Kaneria and Mervyn Westfield, two Essex bowlers, were found to have underperformed in a 2009 Pro40 match against Durham. Westfield pleaded guilty in January 2012, while the verdict on Kaneria was passed by a disciplinary panel in June that year, thus practically ending his career.
Osman Samiuddin and ESPNcricinfo staff
Batting & Fielding