Danish Kaneria has expressed disappointment with the Pakistan board's decision to demote him to the 'C' category in their new, performance-based central contracts.
"It is still hurting me," Kaneria wrote in his column in "I have been Pakistan's highest wicket-taker for the last four years and am now one of the top three or four in terms of seniority having made my Test debut in 2001."
Kaneria, who is seven wickets short of going past Abdul Qadir to become Pakistan's fourth-most successful bowler of all time, said he deserved to be treated with more respect. "I have played 51 Tests now and once I pass Abdul Qadir's 236 Test wickets, hopefully this year, I will then only have the fast bowlers ahead of me -- Waqar Younis, Imran Khan and Wasim Akram. I just feel that achievement deserves a bit more respect. I am respected more when I play at Essex.
"But now I find myself bracketed with players who have just come into the Pakistan system and behind players like Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif, who are great bowlers but have not been able to stay fit much in the last six months and have not played as much cricket as me.
Kaneria's demotion comes in the wake of a poor series against India, where, despite being Pakistan's highest wicket-taker with 12 scalps, he claimed those wickets at an average of 52.33.
"I am not complaining and frustrated for financial reasons, it is just an embarrassment for me and it pains me very much. I have spoken with the PCB but there does not seem to be any sign that my situation is going to change."
He was not satisfied with the PCB's explanation as to why he was bracketed in the lower category. "[PCB] officials have said that part of the reason for my demotion is that I only play Test cricket, but this is not my fault. I have always been desperate to be given a chance to prove myself as a wicket-taker in ODIs but never have had that opportunity on an extended basis. My behaviour has always been good on tours, I am rarely injured, what more do I have to do?"
But Kaneria said he was looking at the home series against Australia, which is yet to be confirmed, to prove his worth. "In one way I don't feel I have to prove myself because I have shown what I can do already, but I am keen to prove people wrong and perform well against the very best when Australia arrive in March. I just keep praying that they will be able to travel to Pakistan as I am excited about the challenge."
Kaneria was speaking just after attending a training camp for spinners held in Lahore, where he worked with former Pakistan legspinner Intikhab Alam. "We watched videos of my bowling and we were able to identify that my run-up was not right and what was going wrong, especially with my follow-through. I was not comfortable with my follow-through and was finishing in the danger area, too near the middle of the pitch.
"I put a new run-up into practice, watched it back on film and was able to feel much better about my bowling afterwards."