Qadir, fearless flagbearer of leg-spin will be missed

Former Pakistan Test cricketer Abdul Qadir

Lahore:  As someone who revived the art of leg-spin with a unique bowling action and heart of a lion, the legendary Pakistani Abdul Qadir passed away on Friday night leaving the cricketing fraternity poorer and in his memory of the 1980s.

Qadir passed away at the age of 63 due to a heart attack drawing immediate reaction from the cricketing world at large who were once mesmerised by his skill and even terrified.

Qadir, who made his Test debut here against England in 1977, must be thanked for keeping wrist-spin alive through the late 1970s and ’80s. Qadir took 236 wickets in 67 Test matches, snaring 132 wickets in 104 ODIs.

He later served as the chief selector of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). He had a temperament of a fast bowler and his killer instinct with the ball left many a batsman befuddled.

Qadir preyed on English batsmen the most and the famous story of captain Imran Khan asking him to grow a beard before the 1982 tour to further intimidate the opponents is now part of folklore.

Qadir took 30 wickets in three Tests, including the best bowling in an innings by a Pakistani, 9/56 in Lahore against England in 1987. About his detailed action, Qadir had once said that it was done to distract batsmen. The saying was that he had six different deliveries per over.

Qadir was also said to have two different googlies. It was only against India that Qadir was not that successful, with a 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar famously hitting him for 28 runs in an over.

Qadir was also successful against the West Indies as Pakistan went without losing a series to them in the mid-80s which was largely due to Qadir’s exploits. Qadir was a fighter and that could be gauged by the way he batted with gusto like the one where he took 16 off Courtney Walsh’s last over to win a World Cup tie.

Qadir became a mentor to Shane Warne and Mushtaq Ahmed and with the emergence of the latter in the 90s, he faded away.

He ran a private academy near Gaddafi Stadium and his four sons have followed him into the game. He later served as the chief selector of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

“They called him the magician for many reasons but when he looked me in the eyes and told me I was going to play for Pakistan for the next 20 years, I believed him. A Magician, absolutely. A leg spinner & a trailblazer of his time. You will be missed Abdul Qadir but never forgotten,” the legendary Wasim Akram tweeted, among many who remembered a great who will live beyond his 63 years.