Abdul Kadir Jamali had lost his wicket-keeping position to young Wasim Bari in 1967 against England. His name is spelled with a ‘K’ unlike that of Pakistan’s star leg-break and googly bowler Abdul Qadir). Abdul Kadir was a wicket-keeper and sound right-handed batsman who had a really hard act to follow.
Imtiaz Ahmed, a member of the national side since its inaugural Test match in 1952-53, had virtually retired from international cricket after having played in 41 of Pakistan’s first 42 Tests. And Abdul Kadir was the man on whom fell the burden of walking into the great Pakistani player’s shoes.
For some time, Lahore’s Ijaz Butt had apparently been groomed as Imtiaz’s successor. In fact, he had made three tours to the West Indies in 1957-58, India in 1960-61, and England in 1962. Imtiaz’s understudy and, in between, also played some Test matches as a specialist opening batsman. After Imtiaz Ahmad had announced his retirement at least from Test cricket, Ijaz too had been distracted by his job outside the realm of the game and become only a part-time cricket player.
For some time, Quetta’s Rashid Fasihuddin had eyed the spot which was eventually to be vacated by Imtiaz. He had the performances that helped him stake his claim for a national team position. But Abdul Kadir and the latter’s fellow Karachi Naushad Ali too had started making their presence felt.
In fact, Kadir was noticed by the selectors earlier than the other two. Kadir played some ten seasons of first-class cricket, having made his debut at this level in 1961-62 as a 17-year-old. His Test career, however, started and ended in the same season, 1964-65, because of a wicket-keeper by the name of Kadir. Please note that his Wasim Bari had emerged on the scene, and he was to rule almost unchallenged for a period spanning some seventeen years until 1983-84.
But Kadir made an auspicious start when handed over his first Test cap. Still licking the wounds inflicted by a rampant England team on their last tour there in 1962. The Pakistanis had not played any more tests before Bob Simpson’s Australia landed in Karachi in October 1964 for a one-off Test. The Pakistan team by then had undergone drastic changes.
Of the players who toured England in 1962, where Pakistan lost four of the five tests under the captaincy of the Javed Burki, Imtiaz Ahmed, Wallis Mathias, Antao D’Souza, Alimuddin, Fazal Mahmood, Mahmood Hussain, and Haseeb Ahsan had represented the country in tests for the last time. Star batsman Mushtaq Mohammad was not available, as he had started an apprenticeship at Northampton shire to qualify as a professional with the English county. His elder brother Hanif Mohammad, another veteran of the inaugural team of 1952-53, took over as captain.
The line-up in the solitary Test against Australia at National Stadium Karachi included as many as six players who were making their debut at the Test match level. Kadir was one of them. Hanif himself, Saeed Ahmed, Javed Burki, Nasim-ul-Ghani, and Intikhab Alam were the only survivors from the England tour.
Khalid Ibadullah, who was a teenager who had visited India back in 1952-53 as a replacement for the injured Khan Mohammad, was playing his first Test for Pakistan at the age of 29. He had been unavailable for his country since 1954 when he had gone off to England and embarked upon a county career with Warwickshire.
The other four newcomers in the Pakistan Squad against Australia were at Rana, pace bowling Asif Iqbal and Majid Jahangir Khan, and left-arm slow bowler Pervez Sajjad, whose elder brother Waqar Hasan had been yet another member of the pioneering Pakistan cricket team.
After Hanif Muhammad had won the toss and opted to bat first, Ibadullah and Kadir, just 20 years old, made a dream start for Pakistan. In a matter of 291 minutes, the opening pair put on a then-record first-wicket stand of 249. Ibadullah made a hundred on debut and went on to score 166 in five and half hours with the help of 20 boundaries. Debutant Abdul Kadir missed his century by just five runs.
It would have been quite a unique occurrence, both opening batsmen scoring centuries on Test debut. Kadir, however, stumbled while trying to get to the other side and was run out at 95, But the opening stand of 249 remained a Pakistan record for the next three decades, before Aamer Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed compiled 298 for the first wicket against West Indies at the same National Stadium Karachi in 1997-98.
Abdul Kadir Jamali had enhanced his credentials for a Pakistan spot when he scored a century. His first-class career’s first in the 1963-64 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Championship final. The adversaries in that game were both Karachi teams, and Kadir turned out for the Whites. Karachi Blues batted first and scored 382. Karachi Whites lost six wickets in reply with only 135 runs on the board.
Kadir, who had opened the batting, then found an able partner of Asif Iqbal (46) as the two added 64 runs for the seventh-wicket stand. Kadir was unbeaten with 114, scored in 307 minutes with six and 15 fours when skipper Wazir Mohammad declared the innings closed at 254 for nine, a whopping 128 runs behind the Blues.
Eventually, however, the Blues won by only 18 runs after the Whites had been left with a target of 334. Kadir’s performance in the second innings was a modest 19, but the other batsmen rose to the occasion to put up a fighting 315, before losing out by a narrow margin.
In the same 1963-64 season, Imtiaz Ahmed had been coaxed out of retirement to captain Pakistan — as well as keep wicket for them — in the three-match series of unofficial Tests against a touring Commonwealth team. Imtiaz Ahmad wicket-keeper’s place to Naushad led the Pakistan A team on a short tour of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) early next season, but Kadir was taken along too.
He opened the batting as well as a kept wicket, under Imtiaz’s able guidance, in the representative match against Ceylon. Kadir scored 27 and 9 in a game that Pakistan-A lost by 41 runs, and made two lightning stumping. But he appeared to have impressed the selectors enough to be considered ripe for a Pakistan Test cap two months later.
After Kadir had played his maiden Test, the Pakistan team flew off to Australia the following month to start its first-ever tour to that country and neighboring New Zealand. Kadir and Naushad Ali were the two wicket-keepers chosen. Kadir played in the one-off Test against Australia at Melbourne, but then there was a mishap.
He opened the batting but failed to score. In fact, as he gave a catch to the debutant Ian Chappell in the slips off Neil McKenzie. He injured his hand so badly that he was unable to take the field in the entire Test match. Skipper Hanif Muhammad had to perform Kadir’s duty in the two Australian innings, taking five catches behind the stumps in addition to making scores of 104 and 93 in the match,
In the second innings of the drawn Test, Kadir came in to bat at number seven and compiled a useful 35 in a 46-runs sixth-wicket stand with Hanif. But when the team began its three-Test series in New Zealand, Kadir had lost his wicket-keeper’s place to Naushad Ali.
But he was in the line-up for the first Test at Wellington — as a middle-order batsman! The likes of Shafqat Rana and Ghulam Abbas had not been scoring runs in the manner they were expected to in the side games so, keeping in view Kadir’s previous record, Hanif thought that the young man had a useful role to perform.
Kadir did make the top score of 46, at number six, for Pakistan after six wickets had tumbled for 64 runs. With Asif Iqbal, he helped add an exact 50 for the seventh wicket and the final score was 187, though still 79 short of New Zealand’s 266. Kadir was bowled by Dick Motz for a duck in the second innings.
He and Naushad were asked to open the batting in the second Test at Auckland. In yet another drawn game, he held the second Pakistan innings together with a stubborn 58, that was made in just over five and a quarter-hour and included six fours. Only Javed Burki (63 in the first innings) was the higher score for Pakistan.
For the third Test in Christchurch, Pakistan acquired the services of Khalid Ibadullah, who was playing and coaching for Otago in New Zealand. Abdul Kadir was dropped and never played for Pakistan again, especially since in the next Test series — in England in 1967 — after that Wasim Bari had taken over the gloves.
Although he was chosen as the team’s specialist wicket-keeper on his debut, Kadir didn’t perform this duty in three of his four Tests. His only victim behind the wicket was Australia’s Tom Veivers, whom he stumped off the off-spinner Saeed Ahmed at Karachi.
Kadir continued to play first-class cricket at the domestic level, following the tour Down Under. His last matches were in 1971-72 when he was playing for National Bank and was also their captain.
In a career, during which he made 36 appearances, Kadir compiled an aggregate of 1,523 runs at a rather modest average of 28.73, He made only one hundred but had nine half-centuries in addition. Behind the wicket, he captured a total of 59 dismissals, comprising 46 catches and 13 stumping.