Spinners January 5, 2007

Qadir was the best of the lot

Kamran Abbasi puts forth ten reasons why Abdul Qadir was a greater spinner than Shane Warne

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