Wednesday, January 24, 2007

canning kaneria

Don't get me wrong. I like Danish Kaneria. I saw him on a plane once, showing a picture of a hot woman in a magazine to Kamran Akmal. I found it amusing. He seems friendly. And he has an innocent look about him, like he's not hiding anything.

Unfortunately, that's the problem. What he's actually like as a person I can only guess, but it's quite clear that as a bowler, he's not hiding anything. He has no tricks up his sleeve. Or up anything, for that matter.

When he first came on the scene, there was talk of a new prodigy - a new Abdul Qadir, even. He took plenty of wickets against South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, and Australia. But a closer look at these figures suggests something might have been wrong. Here's a sample: 2/100, 4/117, 7/118, 2/130, 5/125, 7/188, 6/150, 3/136, 3/123, and 5/127.

Clearly, that's a lot of wickets. But it's also a lot of runs. Those 44 wickets came in a small number of tests, but at an average of 30. His career average is 33. Not counting Bangladesh, it's 36.

So his average isn't great. Fine. Problem is, it's getting progressively worse. Since the start of 2006, it's an appalling 39.

I'm not the biggest fan of using numbers to judge a man's performance, but there's a story here. The fact is, he has become more playable. And it's not that he's getting worse as a bowler, or playing on unconducive pitches. It's just that people are getting used to his bowling.

Kaneria is, essentially, a one-trick pony. He can turn the ball a fair amount, and he will work hard, bowling at the same spot all day if Inzi wants him to. But that's about it. Playing Kaneria is like riding a bike: once you know how to do it, you know how to do it. And only in the event that you make a mistake will you get out.

His googly is so ill-disguised that even lower order batsmen are able to read it with a fair degree of regularity. And he has no flipper to speak of. He doesn't vary his flight too much, and only vaguely varies his line.

These are times in which every team has a number of analysts trying to pick up the opposition's strengths and weaknesses. Predictability is not a virtue. Kaneria needs to jazz up his game.

And if he doesn't, then the management needs to look into replacing him. I'm sorry Danish, but that's far too many innings of 45 overs 3 for 150. The times they are a'changin'. Change with them.

cross-posted at

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