The art described it: “He bowls and bowls again.” Abdul Qadir has a special place in the leg-spin Hall of Fame for a variety of reasons.
He’s not the least, being that he virtually revived a dying art. Abdul Qadir’s other distinctions were blowing away the myth that attacking spin bowling was of no use in one-pagers by forming a lethal combination with Imran Khan. Later, he proved wrong the age-old dictum, if not completely, at least partially, that fast bowlers hunt only in pairs.
Abdul Qadir had been around since 1977–78, when he made his debut against England at home and took 6 for 44 in the first inning at Hyderabad. He did not play much cricket following that until Imran Khan got the captaincy and immediately included him in the side for the 1982 tour of England. On this tour, Abdul Qadir mesmerized the English batsman. They were absolutely clueless about him.
He did not get many wickets, but his match-winning six in the Lord’s Test That was only Pakistan’s second victory till then on English soil, being his main haul. He had received excellent notices in England, and his morale was sky-high.
Abdul Qadir bagged 22 wickets against Australia in the series that followed in 1982–83. With Imran in good nick, the two of them forced Australia to go down 3-0. That was Pakistan’s first-ever clean sweep in test-match cricket.
After that, Abdul Qadir never looked back, winning many matches for Pakistan in both versions of the lame. Qadir had a great variety of googlies, a deadly ﬂipper, and a deceptive topspin. He was very accurate and daring in ﬂighting the ball. He was not afraid to invite the batsman to move down the wicket. Likewise, he was not a great spinner of the ball. Not only that, but he was thwarted by the Aussies and the Indians, who countered him rather well.
On the 1988–87 tour of India, Abdul Qadir was virtually reduced to a bystander as the Indian strategy was very effective. Because Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohammad Azharuddin, and Ravi Shastri sweep him almost every other ball. They applied three kinds of sweeps just to ensure that Qadir didn’t get into his wicket-taking ways. The ﬁrst of course was the orthodox sweep, the second the ‘paddle’ swipe, and the third hit square of the wicket.
Although Abdul Qadir is still rated in the top bracket, those who followed Shane Wane and Mushtaq Ahmed look far more accomplished. They have achieved greater things all around the world, and not only against selective opposition. The moot point, however, is that had Qadir not brought leg-spin into the limelight once again, would they be there?
Abdul Qadir was named Victorian Club Cricketer of the Season. In 1999, after he had quit playing first-class cricket, Abdul Qadir was named as Victorian District Cricket’s player of the season in Australia. The 43-year-old wrist spin wizard, who last played test cricket almost nine years ago, was awarded the Ryder Medal.
Abdul Qadir capped off a remarkable first season in Australian cricket for Melbourne club Carlton by taking 72 wickets at an average of 15.4. It was the highest number of wickets ever taken in a season since the inception of covered wickets there. Abdul Qadir bowled more than 500 overs for the season, and in one match, he bowled the entire day, sending down more than 50 overs unchanged.
His bowling performances ensured that Carlton took the most wickets of the season, with Qadir taking more than 40 percent of them. He became only the second overseas player to win the award after West Indies John Shepherd won while playing for Foot’s Cry in 1976–77. Abdul Qadir played in 104 ODI’s for Pakistan from 1983 to 1993–94, taking 132 wickets at 26.16 runs apiece. He also held 21 cats in ODI’s. He’s a cricket legend, and he will be remembered due to his excellent cricket career.