Cricket fraternity mourns 'magician' Abdul Qadir's demise
New Delhi: Tributes have flowed in for former Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir, who passed away late on Friday night in Lahore after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Qadir passed away at the age of 63, drawing immediate reaction from the cricketing world which was once left mesmerised by his skills.
"We are devastated with the news of Abdul Qadir's passing away and on behalf of the PCB, I want to express my deepest condolences to his family and friends," said PCB chief Ehsan Mani in a statement.
"The PCB, like every Pakistani, is proud of his services to cricket and Pakistan. His contributions and achievements were not only limited on-field, but he also ensured that he transferred the art of leg-spin to the up-and-coming cricketers.
"Apart from being a maestro with the ball, Abdul Qadir was a larger-than-life figure who was adored, loved and respected across the globe due to his excellent understanding and knowledge of the game, and strong cricket ethics and discipline.
"Today, global cricket has become poorer with his passing. He will be missed but will never be forgotten," Mani said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had played alongside Qadir for many years, tweeted: "Deeply saddened to hear of Abdul Qadir's passing away. My prayers & condolences go to the family. Abdul Qadir was a genius, one of the greatest leg-spinners of all time. He was also the life of the dressing room entertaining the team with his wit & humour.
"Qadir's bowling statistics do not do justice to his genius. Had he been playing cricket now with the modern DRS system, where batsmen can be given out on the front foot as well, Qadir would have gotten as many wickets as the great Shane Warne."
Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram tweeted: "They called him the magician for many reasons but when he looked me in the eyes and told me I was going to play for Pakistan for the next 20 years, I believed him. A Magician, absolutely. A leg-spinner and a trailblazer of his time. You will be missed Abdul Qadir but never forgotten."
Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne paid tribute to Qadir on air during the ongoing fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia in Manchester, saying: "It's a very sad news about Abdul Qadir. I had the opportunity to meet him in 1994 during my first tour of Pakistan, and a lot of people who bowled leg-spin, like I did, looked up to him. He was a terrific bowler who bamboozled a lot of batsmen."
"Shocked to hear Abdul Qadir passed away. Met him two years back, he was full of energy as always...A champion bowler, great human being, you will be missed forever...condolences to the family," tweeted former India spinner Harbhajan Singh.
"Shocking news legendary leg spinner Abdul Qadir passing away. He was a dear friend will miss him. I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family. May his soul Rest in peace," tweeted ex-India bowler Madan Lal, a contemporary of Qadir.
"Extremely saddened by the demise of Abdul Qadir the spin bowling stalwart from Pakistan. My heart goes out to his family and friends," said India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
"Sad to hear about the demise of Abdul Qadir. Was always mesmerised by his unique style of bowling and he was one of the best leg-spinners to play the game. Heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones," tweeted former India batsman V.V.S. Laxman.
"A legend of the game, Abdul Qadir left us today. Inna lilahi wa inna ilahi raajioon," said Pakistan speedster Wahab Riaz.
Qadir is credited for keeping the art of wrist-spin alive in the days when it was losing the charm. He picked up 236 and 132 wickets in 67 Tests and 104 ODIs, respectively, in a career that stretched 16 years.
He made his Test debut for Pakistan in December 1977 in Lahore against England. Ten years later, against the same opposition and at the same venue, Qadir would return his best figures of 9/56.
His decade-long ODI career ran from 1983 till 1993.
Qadir also served as the chief selector of Pakistan men's team for six months, after getting appointed to the post in November 2008.
"Legendary leg spinner Abdul Qadir sb passed away. Just got this sad news. The revival of leg spin in cricket is completely credited to him. He inspired a generation of bowlers to take up leg spin. Inna lillahi wa inna elaihi rajaoon," tweeted former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar.
"Deeply saddened to hear the shocking news of sir Abdul Qadir sahab passing away, may Allah grant him highest rank in jannat and the family be blessed with sabar," tweeted Pakistan seamer Mohammad Amir.
"Inna lillahi wa inna illaihi rajiun. Shocked and deeply saddened to hear about Abdul Qadir sahib death. May Allah ease his akhirat n grant him highest ranks in jannah. Keeping his family in my duas, may Allah grant them sabr to bear this loss," tweeted former Pakistan pacer Umar Gul.