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Kaneria sees a role for himself in ODIs

The leggie is dropped from the ODI series, but he says he would be in frame when the 2007 World Cup beckons.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 13:58 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Danish Kaneria has been left to cool his heels while Pakistan's juggernaut moves around the country in their one-day campaign against India. However, the leg-spinner has no doubt he would be in frame when the 2007 World Cup beckons in the Caribbean.

"For one, I feel there is a role for specialists even in one-day arena and two, the wickets in the Caribbean are to my liking," Kaneriasaid on Wednesday.

Kaneria has chosen his moment to stake his claims after one brethren of his ilk, Malinga Bhandara, bowled Sri Lanka into the finals of the VB series on Tuesday, claiming four wickets at a critical juncture against South Africa.

Kaneria's optimism presently is not shared by the Pakistan selectors who have left him out of the mix for the first three one-day internationals.

That he has been provided only 15 one-day games in the last four years also probably conveys the fact that the selectors are yet to make up their mind on him.

Kaneria, however, has little doubt that he would force a rethink in the one-day field as he has done in Test cricket in the last three years.

"I broke into the Test ranks in 2000-01 season but it was only in the last three years when I started to command a regular place. It wasn't possible to ignore me after I took wickets by bagful and performed in different conditions," he said.

He performed creditably in conditions as different as in India, Australia, West Indies and England. Even in the present series against India he was behind only Mohammad Asif in terms of victims.

Words of praise have come from esteemed quarters.

Bill Lawry gushed that he was one of the finest leg spinner to come to Australia in a long time.

Adam Gilchrist is mystified by his wrong 'un and calls him a man with a lot of courage. Brian Lara confessed he could not read him.

In 10 Tests against Sri Lanka, Australia, West Indies and India, he has bagged no less than 60 wickets!

Kaneria seemed to have finally breached the door when he was given a regular berth against England in the preceding one-day series, but despite a rather successful return to the bowling crease, he again has been ignored against the Indians— at least for the time being.

One wonders if it is because selectors perceive him to be an expensive bowler though his economy rate of 4.57 is not too bad.

"Sure I am an attacking bowler but there is place for specialists in one-day cricket. I might be conceding a few in my quest to attack, but then I also am able to pick up important wickets."

Kaneria pauses only for a moment while wondering if he is being kept under the wraps because Indians are such wonderful players of leg-spin bowling.

"I do admit I am yet to get Tendulkar but I thought I had him in Mohali during the first Test of the last series but for the umpire."

Drifting towards his impression of international batsmen, Kaneria feels Brian Lara is the best batsman he has ever bowled to in his life.

"He is so quick on his feet and he reads you so early. But in the last series in the Caribbean, I had him twice— once by way of bowled and then had him caught behind the stumps."

Kaneria feels he could be an important cog in the Pakistan wheel if picked in the squad for the 2007 World Cup in Caribbean.

"The wickets in the Caribbean suit slow bowling, may be it is because of the sand content in the pitches.

"I remember the Jamaica Test of the series in 2005 when the West Indies needed 280 runs in the final innings to claim the series 2-0.

"I picked up 5 for 46 and my scalps included the likes of Lara, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan."

Kaneria also feels he is on right ground to push his credentials as a one-day bowler after he helped his county side Essex to win the one-day championship last summer.

"I had some 17 wickets from nine matches and this was in England, mind you, not in dusty pitches of the sub-continent," he said.

The thought has crossed Kaneria's mind that perhaps he needs to bowl a different containing line in order to be more economical but he dismisses the suggestion almost as quickly.

"As I said, my strength is picking up wickets by attacking batsmen. A leg-spinner cannot help but be attacking."

Kaneria is now hoping that he would have enough opportunities coming his way in Pakistan's future assignments. He also feels the rule of super-sub is an ideal platform for selectors to bring him in the mix.

"I can only control the things which are in my hands and that is to bowl well whenever given the opportunity.

"The approach has served me in Test cricket and it would also in one-day cricket, whenever the chances come my way."

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 13:58 IST