Kaneria prepares to
assume mantle of striker
Pakistan leg spinner Danish Kaneria will fulfil a childhood dream when he
plays the first test against England at Lord's on Thursday.
At 25, Kaneria remains
crucial to Pakistan's hopes of maintaining their proud record in England,
where they have not lost a series since 1982.
With 53 wickets in his
last 10 overseas tests and 84 victims in his last 18 matches, he is certain
to do the bulk of the bowling in the absence of Shoaib Akhtar, who is
recovering from an ankle injury, and with the fitness problems faced by
paceman Rana Naved.
Only the second Hindu
to play for Pakistan after wicketkeeper Anil Dalpat, Kaneria said before
leaving for England that he was relishing the challenge.
"I have bowled a lot
in the last two years. So that is not a problem with me. My fingers can take
the load. But I desperately want to do well on the English pitches," he
Kaneria, who has
followed in the footsteps of successful leg spinners Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq
Ahmed, said playing his first test at Lord's was a dream come true.
"It has always been my
ambition to play a test at Lord's and do well there. My second target is to
play in the one-day series and prove to everyone I can also be good in that
Unlike Qadir and
Mushtaq, who bowled a lot in one-day matches, Kaneria has struggled in the
abbreviated form of the game. He attributes his relatively modest form to
While Qadir finished
with 132 one-day wickets and Mushtaq, who is still spinning away for Sussex,
had 161 one-day wickets, Kaneria has taken just 12 one-day wickets in 16
games, a contrast with his impressive 156 wickets in 36 tests.
"I see the England
tour as the stepping stone to playing in next year's World Cup. All the
other great spinners like (Shane) Warne, (Anil) Kumble, (Muttiah)
Muralitharan have done well in the World Cup. I want to be recognised as a
bowler who could do well in both forms," he said.
has placed a lot of faith in Kaneria even though he has hinted that, given
the injuries to Akhtar and Naved, Mushtaq might get a recall to strengthen
"Mushtaq is an option
as he is doing well for Sussex but Kaneria remains our first-choice spinner.
He has improved a lot in the last two years and won us tests," Inzamam said.
Kaneria has bowled a
great deal in England during two seasons with Essex who have offered him a
new contract for 2007.