He came, he bowled and he conquered; that’s Abdul Qadir for you. The man who brought Googly back to prominence was one of those players who could do anything, anytime. Be it with the bat, the ball or in the field, the Qadir of the ‘80s was a mean machine that could destroy the opposition at will. Let’s take a look at some of his performances that helped Pakistan become one of the strongest Test and ODI playing nations of the world.
The Making of Abdul Qadir – 2nd Test, vs England at Faisalabad 1982-83
Although he took a six-wicket haul in his second Test way back in 1978, it wasn’t until his first ten-wicket haul against the mighty Aussies four years later that the world took notice of the genius that was Abdul Qadir. In the second Test of the series, the leg-spinner bamboozled the visitors by taking 11 wickets in the match (four in the first, seven in the second). The tourists needed 333 runs after following on to make Pakistan bat again, but Qadir had different ideas. He restricted the Aussies to 330, dismissing Allan Border, Kim Hughes and Bruce Laird in the process. Qadir was declared Man of the Match for his amazing performance, which proved to be the first of many more to come.
The Dawn of Abdul Qadir – Prudential World Cup, vs Sri Lanka, 1983
It was a match that could have turned into another upset of the 1983 World Cup, had Abdul Qadir not been at his best. Helped by Imran Khan’s only ODI century, Pakistan managed to post 235 runs in 60 overs against Sri Lanka. It was a low score considering the number of overs. The islanders were cruising towards victory at 100 runs for the loss of one wicket when Abdul Qadir happened. He ended the match with five wickets for 44 runs, including the wickets of Duleep Mendis, Ranjan Madugalle and Arjuna Ranatunga. His bowling helped Pakistan bowl Sri Lanka out for 224 and earned him the Man of the Match award.
The Unsung Hero of
– April 1986
Before Javed Miandad hit the last ball for a six against India at Sharjah, Pakistan had not won a tournament including more than two teams. People forget Abdul Qadir’s contribution in that tournament. In the semi-final of the mega event, the leg-spinner bowled economically, dismissing the New Zealanders for 64 runs in less than 36 overs. He bowled 10 overs for 9 runs, four of which were maidens and ended with four wickets, including three batsmen who were castled by the leggie. In the final, he dismissed dangerous Srikkanth and later added 71 runs for the fifth wicket with Miandad, in which he scored 34 valuable runs off 39 balls, being the third-highest run-getter after Miandad and Mohsin Khan.
Conquering the West Indies – 1st Test, vs West Indies at Faisalabad 1986-87
They may have had the deadliest pacers in the world at that time, but Abdul Qadir was no ordinary leg-spinner either. Chasing 240 runs to win the match and start the series on a winning note, the West Indians were all set for another successful day in Test cricket. They didn’t take into account the fifth day, the pressure of second innings and a wrist spinner who loved Faisalabad. Abdul Qadir accounted for Larry Gomes for 2, Viv Richards for a rare second-ball duck, Richie Richardson for 14 and Malcolm Marshall for 10, ending with six wickets for 16 runs. The West Indians were bowled out for just 53 runs and Pakistan won the match by 186 runs!
World Cup 1987 – When Abdul Qadir Could Do No Wrong!
It was one of those weeks in Abdul Qadir’s career in which he could do no wrong. In a World Cup match played over two days, it was Qadir who first helped Pakistan post 239 runs for the loss of 7 wickets with his 7-ball 12 not out against England at Rawalpindi. He then returned to claim four wickets as the hosts fell short by 18 runs. Three days later, he compensated for not taking a wicket against the West Indies by scoring 10 runs off the last three balls of a Courtney Walsh over, winning the match for Pakistan by one wicket. The six he hit off the fourth ball of the over will remain etched in every cricket lover’s mind for as long as the game is played.
Best Bowling Ever By A Pakistani – 1st Test, vs England at Lahore 1987-88
The year 1987 was Abdul Qadir’s finest as he took 10 wickets in a Test match against England on three occasions, once in England and twice in Pakistan. He came close to taking 10 wickets in an innings on one such occasion.
His 9 for 56 against the English is still the best bowling ever by a Pakistani and is still the seventh-best bowling figures by any bowler in the world. He dismissed Graham Gooch, Chris Broad, Tim Robinson, Mike Gatting, Bill Athey, John Emburey and Philip DeFreitas as England were bowled out for 175 runs. Qadir ended the match with 13 wickets. In the second innings, too, he was unplayable along with his spin partners Tauseef Ahmed and Iqbal Qasim, who ended with three wickets each. Pakistan won the match by an innings and 87 runs, earning Qadir the first Man of the Match award of the series. He ended the series with another Man of the Match award in the last match in which he took 10 wickets and scored his Test-best score of 61.