Monday, 8 February 2010

The mindset of Abdul Qadir

Bowlers, those mad drones, don't have much that batsmen don't have too, but there is one thing: mystique. Even the very greatest batsmen don't have mystique, because everything that the great batsman does is on display. It's there for all to see. Thus they may have presence, they may have aura and they may have charisma, but not mystique.

A very few bowlers do though. The point was emphasised by Christopher Ryan in his terrific piece for cricinfo on Abdul Qadir's season of grade cricket in Melbourne in 1998, when he was 43. Qadir, perhaps even more than Shane Warne, was a bowler with mystique. Partly that was because his every ball wasn't subject to TV analysis, partly because Warne himself advocated Qadir's genius, and partly because... well, read the piece.

Suffice to say that one player is still in thrall to his encounter with Qadir twelve years later: 'There I was thinking I had broken him when all that time he was working up a trap for me. I mean, my god, the mentality of the man. The mindset...'

'I saw it in his eyes,' was Qadir's reply. 

That, I'd say, is mystique.

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