KARACHI: Tributes poured in from ex-players and officials from all over the world for legendary leg-spinner Abdul Qadir whose untimely death on Friday night stunned his fans. He was 63.
Former Pakistan captains Wasim Akram, Moin Khan, Rashid Latif and Waqar Younis led the condolence messages, saying Qadir’s death was “a great loss of Pakistan cricket”.
“We have lost a great man who was an institution in himself,” said Wasim who played alongside Qadir in the late 1980s. “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,” recalled Wasim. “A magician, absolutely. A leg-spinner and a trailblazer of his time. You will be missed Abdul Qadir but never forgotten.”
Australia’s great leg-spinner Shane Warne, the second highest Test wicket-taker in history with 708 scalps and a big fan of Qadir, mourned his shocking death.
“It’s a very sad news,” Warne told Sky Sports during the fourth Ashes Test, “My condolences to Abdul Qadir’s family. I had the opportunity to meet him in 1994 on my first tour to Pakistan. I think a lot of people who bowled leg-spin, like I did, he was the guy who we looked up to in the eighties. He was the main leg-spinner in that era,” said Warne.
“He was a terrific bowler who bamboozled a lot of batsmen. His record is just fantastic.”
Former captain and leg-spinning all-rounder Mushtaq Mohammed and brother Sadiq Mohammad were also crestfallen at Qadir’s untimely demise. “It is indeed a very sad news to hear about Abdul Qadir’s untimely death. Without a doubt he was a world class leg-spinner and played a great part in many of Pakistan’s victories,” said Mushtaq. He will be long remembered as a bowling genius. May Allah grant him best place in Jannah.”
Sadiq endorsed Mushtaq’s views, saying: “I am shocked at this news. I saw batsmen all around the world getting baffled by Qadir’s bowling and I am proud to have played with him.”
Javed Miandad while expressing his deep condolence over the sad demise, said that he could not believe as yet about his death. “Abdul Qadir was a lovely person. As a bowler, no doubt, he made a great name and kept the leg-spin live with his magic bowling skills. We both hhad played together for Pakistan as well as Habib Bank Limited,” he said.
Former Test spinner and NBP Sports Head Iqbal Qasim was very emotional at Qadir’s death and said: “Both of us used to be known as the ‘Spin Twins’ and we played so many matches together. I can’t believe Qadir is no more. May Allah bless his soul.”
Former captain and wicket-keeper Wasim Bari recalled that Qadir made his Test debut under his captaincy in 1978. “Both me and Qadir were really close and he debuted under my captaincy in 1978. What a brilliant bowler and a fine man. My deepest condolences to his family on this tragedy,” said Bari.
Sky Sports commentator and former England captain David Gower said: “He was a brilliant, brilliant leggie. I enjoyed playing against him — partly the challenge of playing people of his skill. Qadir would bamboozle you at times and he would always ask you ‘have you picked the googly? He was just a lovely guy with a huge amount of skill and our condolences to all close to him.”
Asian Bradman Zaheer Abbas, speaking to the media, said: “For me, he was one of the greatest right-arm leg-spinners in the world who redefined the art of spin bowling. He was a great learner of the game and was extremely dedicated. When I heard the news, I did not believe it initially. But then, such is life. Go well, my friend!”
Prolific former Indian Test batsman VVS Laxman added: “Sad to hear about the demise of Abdul Qadir. I was always mesmerised by his unique style of bowling and he was one of the best leg-spinners to play the game.”
Ex-Indian pacer Madan Lal said: “This is a shocking news. Qadir was a dear friend and I will miss him. May his soul Rest in peace.”
Former Test cricketer and chief selector Salahuddin Sallu said: “I am deeply grieved at Qadir’s death. He was a great friend and magnificent leg-spinner whose exploits will be long remembered. May his soul rest in peace. Ameen.”
Another one of Qadir’s former team-mates, Mudassar Nazar, was stunned to hear the news of his demise. “I am completely devastated. I still can’t believe he is no more with us. We had known each other since the age of 13 and grew up together, played in the same team, went to the same college and eventually made it to the Pakistan U-19 team and the senior team,” said Mudassar.
Fawad Ijaz Khan, president Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), recalled his long association with Qadir. “Myself and Qadir studied together at the Govt College, Lahore and we were great friends. He captained the Veterans team to India and again in the series against Indian Veterans in Pakistan. We will miss him so much.”
Express pacer Shoaib Akhtar said the revival of leg spin in cricket is completely credited to Qadir. “He inspired a generation of bowlers to take up leg-spin. A fine soul. God bless him.”
Shoaib Mohammed, the former Pakistan batsman and son of the legendary Hanif Mohammad, fondly remembered his friend and team-mate Abdul Qadir as a “disciplined and straightforward man.” “Qadir was a great bowler indeed who had great variety in his bowling. As a selector, he was instrumental in picking the Pakistan World T20 squad that won the tournament in England in 2009. But soon he resigned as chief selector due to differences with the PCB over selection policies,” Shoaib told Sportstar from Karachi on Saturday.
Ex-captain Intikhab Alam and Federal IPC Minister Fehmida Mirza also condoled the sad demise of Qadir.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2019