That was but one memory on Saturday after it was confirmed by the Pakistan Cricket Board that Qadir had died aged 63, reportedly of cardiac arrest.
Qadir’s bouncy, long run-up and ability to extract sharp spin both ways made him almost unplayable at times – and his then-Blues captain Ian Wrigglesworth had prime viewing at slip.
He said Qadir, who claimed the Ryder Medal in his lone campaign, and Carl Hooper – the West Indian who joined the following season – had been the “most gifted” cricketers he had seen in his long career.
“I learnt quite a lot from him (Qadir) as a captain and, obviously, Carl (Hooper) the next year. They brought that international experience with them. Their outlook on the game was at a different level at times,” Wrigglesworth said.
“Him and Carl (Hooper) were so much more gifted than any Australian talent I have seen. His (Qadir’s) ability to turn the ball was phenomenal. When he needed to produce the ‘money ball’ at the right time, he nailed it. He was more gifted than Warney (Shane Warne). His ability to turn the ball, I have never seen the likes of it.”
Qadir was remembered for the great battle he once had with star Geelong batsman Jason Bakker, eventually deceiving him with a wrong-un. He also spent time working with youngsters, instructing them to spin the ball as much as possible. There was also a tale that on one 40-odd degree day, despite bowling unchanged before tea, he spent the break helping the opposition young leggie with his craft – on the field.
Test greats have paid tribute to Qadir, who made his debut for Pakistan in 1977 in Lahore. He played 67 Tests and 104 one-day internationals, claiming a total of 368 wickets.
He was a key piece of Pakistan’s great teams of the 1980s and became a mentor to the next generation of leg-spinners, including Australia’s Shane Warne and Pakistan’s Mushtaq Ahmed.
Warne, commentating during fourth Ashes Test in Manchester, told Sky Sports Qadir was a “brilliant, brilliant bowler”.
‘‘I had the opportunity to meet him in 1994 on my first tour to Pakistan. I think a lot of people who bowled leg-spin, like I did, he was the guy who we looked up to in the eighties.
He was the main leg-spinner in that era. He was a terrific bowler who bamboozled a lot of batsmen. His record is a terrific one,” he said.
A favourite of former Pakistan captain Imran Khan – now the country’s Prime Minister – his 9-56 in Lahore in 1987 is still the best return by a Pakistan bowler in a Test innings.
Three of Qadir’s sons – Imran, Rehman and Sulaman – have played first-class cricket while another, Usman Qadir, plays for Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers and wants to represent Australia.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.