Home > Features >

Danish Kaneria: A tale of fine career clouded by spot-fixing scandal

Danish Kaneria © AFP
Danish Kaneria’s appeal against ECB’s ban for involvement in spot-fixing was turned down © AFP

Danish Kaneria is a bowler who conjures up images of a leg-spinner with a frog-like action in most Pakistani fans’ minds; sadly, he has now faded into obscurity thanks to his involvement in the infamous 2009 spot-fixing scandal in English County cricket. The man who once was hailed as one of the most promising players to have emerged from the Pakistani cricket stables now sadly is fighting a losing cause in order to acquit himself of the charges leveled against him by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) five years back and the life-ban imposed on him has already stalled a career which once upon a time looked rosy and promising. Vineet Varma takes a look as to how Kaneria’s time as a Pakistani cricketer looks almost finished at this moment in time and what he can do to salvage of what may remain as ruins of a brief and fledgling career.

 

Flashback to 2000; it was Pakistan facing England in a Test match at Faisalabad; the home side had a young leggie by the name of Danish Kaneria who, was making his debut against the Nasser Hussain-led side. Pakistan had scored a respectable 316 in their first innings and had put the Englishmen to bat on a wicket which was more suited to spin rather than pace.  The opening pair of Michael Atherton and Marcus Trescothick had looked in good nick for the visitors and the stage was set for England to launch an assault on the Pakistani bowlers until skipper Moin Khan tossed the ball to Kaneria.

The first ball from the leg-spinner was played well by Trescothick; the batsman was gaining confidence as the match progressed; the next ball from Kaneria, a well-disguised googly, had the former baffled as he got out stumped by Moin and thus a statement of Pakistan having a quality leg-spinner in their ranks was emphasized. Though the match later ended in a dour draw and Kaneria finished with only a mere two wickets for all his efforts, Trescothick’s first-innings dismissal was an indication to the world that Pakistan had produced the next great leg-spinner.

 

Kaneria finished the series taking four wickets overall at an average of 54.25, figures which belied his talent and thus ended Pakistan’s search for a genuine leg-spinner since the good old days of Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed. Or did it? If one looks at Kaneria’s career from a statistical point of view then definitely the answer to the above question will be a resounding yes as the he went on to represent Pakistan in 61 Tests with an impressive 261 wickets, figures which are outstanding to say the least.

Even Richie Benaud had once praised Kaneria’s googly to be one of the best he had ever seen in world cricket, a compliment which deserves to be preserved by any bowler worth his trade. The best of Kaneria was yet to come as he managed to cement his place in the Pakistani side courtesy his impressive performances at both international and domestic levels and turned into a weapon which Pakistan could unleash on opposition batsmen irrespective of the conditions. His best moment had come in 2004 when he took ten wickets against Sri Lanka in a Test at Karachi (including seven for 109 in the second innings), thus setting up a six-wicket win for his side.

That performance proved that Kaneria could deliver the goods even against quality opposition and the stage was set for him to turn his career into a blossoming if not legendary one. But as it happens with all heroes, there comes a time when they fall down hard due to some known or unknown reason and whether they rise or not is all but a matter of character; Kaneria’s fall came in 2010 when he was indicted on charges of fixing a game during the previous season with English County side Essex and was later handed a life-ban for his ‘crime’ by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Kaneria was named as the man along with another English cricketer Mervyn Westfield to have influenced the result of a Natwest Pro 40 match which led to his subsequent ban from English cricket. The biggest blow, however, came when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to not include him in any of their plans for the national team after that blemish and thus the door of opportunity for redemption was firmly shut on Kaneria’s face. With his fledgling career all but over Kaneria turned to domestic cricket in Pakistan for respite and started taking wickets by the bagful with hopes of making a comeback in national reckoning.

But as luck would have it, his appeal against the ECB’s ban was rejected in 2013 with the ECB claiming him to be a ‘disgrace’ to the game. As the current scenario stands Kaneria has, in all probability, lost both his battles with the ECB as well as time as he finds himself submerged in a quagmire which may well swallow him before he gets out safely and save his precious skin.

Though he may never reclaim his glory days of yore as things currently stand for him, the best that Kaneria can do is to try and get the ban upheld or even overturned which if done successfully may at least give him one last chance to salvage his ruined career.

And if he does manage to make a comeback to the Pakistani side putting all his legal and off-field worries aside, this generation may yet see a great leg-spinner putting one last roll of the dice and try to go off into the cricketing sunset amidst a blaze of glory!

(Vineet Varma is a writer at Cricket Country. He can be followed @Vinfire19)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 3: Central Zone lead by 111 runs at the end of Day 3

Pakistan vs Australia Live Cricket Score, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi Day 2

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Pakistan 517/4 against Australia at tea on Day 2 of 2nd Test

Misbah-ul-Haq becomes fifth Test captain to score century after age of 40

Younis Khan completes 5th Test double century; Pakistan continue to dominate Australia in 2nd Test

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Younis Khan completes 8,000 runs in Test cricket

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here