Danish Kaneria will end his career as the highest wicket-taking spinner for Pakistan - itself an achievement - but whether or not he will be the best this country has ever produced will not be as straightforward a conclusion.
Kaneria, only the second Hindu to play for Pakistan, has many admirable traits, many necessary to make a good legspinner. His height purchases good bounce - though not always flight - and he can turn the ball significantly. Though the googly is overexposed, Richie Benaud once reckoned it to be among the best-disguised he had seen. Above all he has perseverance, and right or wrong, has served often as shock and stock bowler.
But something has been missing, the unknown that makes great leggies great. It is not so much in the tools, but in the persona and a peculiar lack of guile, especially if he is to be compared to countrymen such as Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed; both had a wonderful presence. In turn he has also lacked a good captain, or always good supporting bowlers at the other end. Latterly he has suffered the lack of even an able wicketkeeper.
He has been an ever-present in the Test side since 2004 and his best period was in the years that followed immediately; critical spells came around the world, against Sri Lanka, England and West Indies and lionhearted ones against Australia and India. But he hasn't kicked on since. Often he will turn an innings, bowling as brightly as Pakistan has always hoped. But mostly he is a reliable run-controller and his strike rate has expanded alarmingly over the years. Tellingly, perhaps, he hasn't been part of Pakistan's limited-overs thinking at all for years. Osman Samiuddin Read More