Danish Kaneria, the Pakistan leg-spinner, is regularly touted as the 'key' by his captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, before every Test series. Come the ODI series, however, and Kaneria is non-existent. Having been left out, once again, from Pakistan's ODI squad for the series against South Africa, Kaneria revealed his disappointment at his continuing snub for limited-overs cricket.
"I am very much disappointed," Kaneria told Reuters. "I feel like the team management has let me down. I was expecting to be given a chance in this one-day series before the World Cup."
Pakistan lost the Test series 2-1, but Kaneria finished as the second-highest wicket-taker for his side, with 15 wickets. He stands now only two short of becoming the third Pakistani spinner ever to take 200 Test wickets. And had Kamran Akmal not had such a poor series, Kaneria might already have been past the landmark.
But Kaneria has only played 16 ODIs in the five years since his ODI debut, as a succession of captains have failed to utilise him properly. Inzamam has been particularly reluctant in using him and the only real run Kaneria has had under his tenure was three ODIs against England in the 2005-06 home series. Otherwise, he has had to make do with the odd match here and there.
"I don't understand why I am not considered for the one-dayers," he said. "I have worked so hard and have given 110 percent for my captain and the team. I have also improved my batting and fielding. I don't understand, unless they play me how can they know how I will perform in the one-dayers?"
With Pakistan relying heavily on all-rounders such as Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez for spin, through Inzamam and coach Bob Woolmer's time together, there has been no place for specialist spin until recently. With the encouraging debut of Abdur Rehman, the left-arm spinner, Kaneria's chances are further reduced.
"My ambition is to play in the World Cup," Kaneria said. "But I don't know if I will get that chance now."