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January 5, 2007

Spinners

Qadir was the best of the lot

Kamran Abbasi
Abdul Qadir bowls during the third Test against England, Pakistan v England, Karachi, January 18, 1978
 © The Cricketer International
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Call me a heretic, Shane Warne was a true great but Abdul Qadir was better. I say this for several reasons.

1. Warne was barely able to bowl a googly, Qadir had several.

2. Umpires have become much more sympathetic towards legspinners over the last decade or so. Qadir had some of the plumbest decisions turned down for no better reason than the ball "might" spin. That rarely happens now and it makes the batsman's approach less sure and stay more uncomfortable.

3. Qadir had to battle the madness of Pakistan's cricket system and if Imran Khan had not supported him he might have been lost. Warne had the smartest cricket board behind him.

4. Warne played for the premier team of his age. Qadir began when Pakistan were nowhere and ended with Pakistan battling for the top spot.

5. Qadir had to bowl at the world's strongest batting team (West Indies), with great success too. Warne never had to.

6. Warne usually bowled with the luxury of a big score behind his team. Qadir was more often bowling under the pressure of a low score.

7. Warne had always been part of a powerful bowling attack. For most of Qadir's career it was him and Imran and much cannon fodder.

8. Global cricket coverage made today's stars more prominent than even the stars of the 80s. Many of Qadir's dazzling performances were never seen in England and Australia, the countries that dominate cricket writing and coverage.

9. Scyld Berry, the incoming editor of Wisden Almanack: "It is impossible to believe that wrist-spin has ever been bowled better than Qadir did in his home city of Lahore in 1987-88, when he took 9 for 56 against England."

10. More from Scyld: "Graham Gooch, who faced him that day, said Qadir was even finer than Shane Warne, to whom he passed on the candle." Gooch faced both bowlers in their prime.

Thank you Shane but let's not forget Abdul the Googly.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by mehraj ud din(kashmir) on (July 11, 2007, 12:44 GMT)

Warne was the part of the great team,every player contributed his due on the other side,Qadir established his team to greatness.

Posted by pete murder tone on (June 13, 2007, 16:49 GMT)

warne is not necessarily the best, but neither is qadir. Qadir simply did not play enough nor have enough impact for any comparison to be valid...

A few points in defense of warne tho:

warne didnt come into a world champ side, but he helped turn it into one

Warne was a force long before McGrath reached the top, he too was partnered by some weak attacks for a time

While never dominating in India it was only in his last series there that he was fully fit...the other times he played there he was hampered, in 98 he was shot and shouldnt have played but he did his best without concern for his average

Posted by Hisham on (February 7, 2007, 8:45 GMT)

Hey People, Give every1 a break. Tell ya what, you guys are compering 100 with 10. Did some1 notice another "0" is missing in comparision.

Did you guys not notice that apart from only bad performance in India, Warne ruled the world, he simply did with his big leggies which were good enough to undo batter.

Lets not discuss skills of batsman here, he has dismissed batters like Saeed Anwar, Azhar-ud-din, Sachin, Lara, Inzimam-ul-haq.

He did it all over the world, Qadir well I am afraid it was support of Imran, Pakistani Dull wickets and Pakistani's high class one sided yet truly unfair, biased umpiring.

Did you guys not notice Straus walking towards ball and ball spining infront of him, taking his leg. I reckon that was 4 FEET spin in England. I dont recall Qadir getting out BOB WILLIS (who hit him for 4 successive boundries in LORDS alone)

Sorry Guys, No comparision at all. Let's be honest. Warne was something.

Posted by eddy on (January 23, 2007, 1:02 GMT)

Utter nonsense. I saw Qadir playing in his hey days, he was only good in Pakistan. In fact, its only because of Imran that he played because Imran didn't like Iqbal Qasim. Imran supported Qadir, just like he supported another failure Mansoor Akthar and no one could have dared gone against Imran's decision. Shane Warne is world class, he is the Don Bradman of spin bowling

Posted by QFF on (January 21, 2007, 9:53 GMT)

I do not agree with anyone who rates Qadir higher than Shane Warne... period... There is no comparison... who needs a googly when you can bowl with the variations Warne can... Agreed Qadir kept the art alive during the difficult periods, but he was no where close to Shane...

Posted by J O on (January 19, 2007, 18:12 GMT)

Well lads, I have to say that Warne is better than Qadir! Warne had to play on flatter pitches and still mesmorized most batters. To have so many variations in your armoury and bowl them to perfection is real great. The flipper is the hardest of the lot and he bowls it very well. It just shows that he is a master of his game and will always be remembered as the greatest leg spinner ever!!!

Posted by ali on (January 19, 2007, 3:23 GMT)

Andrew G- Salim Malik may have been banned for match fixing, but he happened to be an excellent cricketer. A stylish middle-order batsman, Malik made 5,768 runs in 103 Tests and 7,170 in 283 one-day internationals until his ban. Also, he was dismissed just once in five Tests by Warnie. So he knew what he was talking, when he said: "He is a negative bowler and tries to frustrate the batsman by bowling round the legs.". If you watch Warne's bowling you"ll see that's what he bowled continuously. Compare that to any other leg spinner and you"ll see what am talking about ... So if Murali is a chucker, then Warnie was a negative bowler.

We are only discussing cricket here, but if you want to bring other stuff, let me just say:

As far as match fixing is concerned, I believe Warne has also been involved (which he conveniently lied about as just giving weather and pitch reports - as if the TV commentators weren't doing their job :~)).

Not to mention his diuertic lies. Dick Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, attacked the leg spinner in his book Inside Dope. "The diuretic was a masking agent that could have hidden the possible use of steroids that would help the injury cure faster. He had returned to play almost twice as quickly as the experts had predicted," Pound wrote.

But lets not discuss this ...

Posted by Tom Bonnington on (January 17, 2007, 21:33 GMT)

OK, first I'd like to say I thought this article was joking when I read it. Your ignorance is unbelievable. Shane Warne is the greatest spinner ever, if not since O Reilly. Your point of Warne always bowling with a big score behind him. That is rubbish. What about the ashes 2005 where Warne took 40 wickets with an out of form team? Have you just conveniently blanked this out your memory? I will tell you why Qadir was worse. He bowled on dustbowls, he lacked control, he hardly spun the ball and most importantly his bowling average and trike rates are far worse than most of todays leg spinners. I would rate Mushy higher. Warne however spins it miles, feeds off pressure, bowls tight lines and knows exactly how much spin to impart and how to trouble the batsman.

Overall this article is very bias and dont understand how you could possibly be serious. However maybe you just wanted people to read your blog. Next week I expect a "Sorry I was only joking" thread.

Posted by Andrew G on (January 15, 2007, 1:02 GMT)

Hi Kamran,

As this post blog seems to have morphed into a Warne v Murali debate, (plus racism in cricket), I would like to add a few thoughts and opinions.

Warne v Murali Stats say Murali is the more prolific. I looked at Murali's stats when you remove Bangladesh & Zimababwe & they do drop - but are still better than Warnes. Murali does bowl up to 8 overs a match more than Warne - but his strike rate is still better. Murali does not perform well against Australia, Warne does not perform well against India. I think statistically Murali is better b\- but I believe Warne has a better quality of scalps.

As for Murali the bowler, (non statistics), I believe Murali is not a cheat but chucks when bowling the doosra. What do I mean by not a cheat who does occasionally chucks? I believe his arm is so "rubberish" that he contorts in a way like a chuck. Murali strikes me as a bloke who is not a cheat. He is a fine citizen and role model to people around the world, and usually seems to have a happy disposition. I don't know what to make of him as I watch him bowl and think thats a chuck. I know biochemics have suggested/proven that there is a lot of elbow movement in ALL bowlers around the world - but very few look like they chuck! Lee & Ahktar are 2 players with apparantly the largest movement in their elbows - but they look fine to me. Does this mean I am a racist against Sri Lankans?

I shudder to think what Sri Lankan cricket would be like when Murali retires. I respect the man, (Murali), but I am not convinced he doesn't occasionally chuck. I have a lot of mates who describe Murali as a chucker. Are any of my mates racist - no. Australia is a country full of blokes who like to sledge. Anyone remember a capable cricketer from NZ named Hadlee? In Australia we gave him a gobful. When the crowd yells out "no-ball" when Murali bowled - it is considered by most as HUMOUR! When Australia tour Sth Africa and England we are often taunted as being "convicts". I don't recall Gillespie having a dummy spit during the 2005 Ashes after being mercilessly carted by Pietersen & co returning to Fine Leg and being sledged about his haircut and ancestry, I remember him wearing a wry grin acknowledging the "mart alecs"in the crowd as just having a go.

I don't personally go for sledging someones skin colour or religion, (and no one I do does). I believe Panesar got sledged for his religion early in a tour match - but was quickly "adopted" by Australians as a talented personality - and was cheered not jeered everytime he survived a ball when batting.

Australians are parochial - even on State lines. Gilchrest was bagged when he made his test debut in Ian Healys GABBA. Healy was bagged at the WACA when he took Zoeherer's spot in the late 80s.

Gladstone Small was a crowd favourite, the West Indies have always been made welcome, Ganguly's Indians last time they were here were admired for their cricket and character. (Having said that Agarkar was sledged by the crowd when he was in the middle of his procession of ducks).

Is Australia full of perfect cricketers with perfectly behaved audiences? - I don't think so. But I believe we are a nation that loves sport respects good competition - (even if we lose - Ashes 2005), and warmly embrace unique personalities. Some touring players for not real fault of their own get under the crowds skin - I am thinking of Hadlee & Ranatunga in particular - but it is not racist. Anyone thinks that is ignorant of our culture. Take a look at how we feed upon each during our football season - State of Origin - QLD v NSW.

Great players are well and truly respected no matter where they come from - sometimes ignorance of the hurtful nature of some sledging prevails - I am thinking of the "Kaffir" comments during the last South African tour. I believe if most people knew that it conjures feelings like the word "nigger" does in the USA people would stop using it. By the way I never use the word Nigger and none of my mates or anyone I know.

The point I am getting at is that to argue against Murali and being white - is not racist. It is just opinion. I personally rate Mark Waugh a better batsman then Steve Waugh but statistics will never back it. Steve utilised his talents better. Maybe thats the difference between Qadir & Warne.

As for Ali & his posts enough of the reference to Salim Malik unlike Murali he is pretty much a proven match fixer & someone who most people who follow cricket would not ant to hear his views. They are not valid. Also Murali has had the same opportunities in Australia, (last 2 days - pitch turning), and not delivered.

I believe bowling in India in particular, is difficult for an Australian as the pitch conditions & the local batsman are expert players in those conditions. However, to the people who posted the comments about India being the ultimate test for spinners - I would suggest they look at touring spinners stats in Australia - as I believe that Australia play spinners as well as Indians - albeit under different conditions.

Anyway look forward to more posts from you Kamran.

Posted by oz fan on tour on (January 14, 2007, 21:55 GMT)

The following is a quote from Abdul Qadir made in december(google it if you dont believe me) Lahore: Legendary Pakistan leg spinner Abdul Qadir today paid rich tributes to Shane Warne on becoming the first bowler in Test cricket history to take 700 Test wickets.

In an exclusive interview to Voice of America, Qadir said, “Shane Warne is the greatest bowler in the history of Test cricket and I fail to find words that can match or measure his success.”

“He has been a remarkably talented, incredibly sharp learner and highly respectable individual who knew how to respect elders. I feel honoured that Warne learnt the great skills and finer aspects of leg-break bowling from me,” the 51-year-old leg spin maestro of the 1980s said.

Qadir said world cricket was blessed that it had Warne and the Aussie magician should be remembered as the greatest leg-spin maestro in the history of cricket. — UNI

Well i hope that clears up things!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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