Abdul Qadir, Pakistan’s legendary leg-spinner, dies at 63

Legendary Pakistan cricketer Abdul Qadir passes away at 67
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Legendary Pakistan cricketer Abdul Qadir passes away at 67

Abdul Qadir, Pakistan’s legendary cricketer and one of the best spinners to have played the game, died on Thursday at the 63. He is survived by his wife, four sons and a daughter who is married to current Pakistan star batsman Umar Akmal.

Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman, Kamran Akmal, Umar’s elder brother, confirmed the tragic news about Qadir suffering a cardiac arrest and after being rushed to a hospital, was declared dead on arrival.

In a tweet, former Pakistan cricketer Saeed Ajmal said: May Allah bless the departed soul of legendary leg spinner Abdul Qadir Sahib who has passed away due to heart attack. It’s sad news for all of us. May Allah give patience to the rest of the family. RIP Ameen

Mohammad Kaif also expressed grief over the passing away of one of Pakistan’s all-time great.

Former teammate Wasim Akram paid tribute on Twitter: “They called him the magician for many reasons but when he looked me in the eyes & 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.”

Qadir was a master leg-spinner and 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).

Interestingly, another Pakistan spin great Mushtaq Ahmed only came into prominence imitating Qadir’s action.

Qadir, who remained a critic of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s policies till the end, worked as chief selector in 2009 and it was the squad that was selected by him that went on to win the ICC World T20 in England.

Qadir had resigned midway through the tournament as chief selector after having differences with the erstwhile PCB chairman Ejaz Butt over the non-selection of fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

Always a colourful character, Qadir was a favourite of Pakistan’s World Cup-winning captain turned prime minister, Imran Khan and he produced some of his best performances under Imran’s captaincy taking 9 for 56 in one test against West Indies at Faisalabad.

All four of his sons, Rehman, Imran, Sulaman and Usman have played first-class cricket in Pakistan while his youngest Usman (also a leg-spinner like his father) also appeared in the Big Bash T20 league last season and has shown his intention to qualify to play for Australia after being overlooked time and again by Pakistani selectors.

Cricket pundits and writers believe that Qadir’s biggest achievement was to keep the art of wrist spin alive during the eras of the 70s and 80s when fast bowlers dominated world cricket.

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