A Letter to Abdul, by Usman Qadir: Following the announcement of the ICC Hall of Fame on November 8, 2022, open letters have been sent to the inductees explaining their reactions to the news. In this letter, Usman Qadir writes to his father, Abdul.
A Letter to Abdul, by Usman Qadir
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I am overjoyed to learn that you will be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. It is a fantastic honor and an incredible achievement, and my only regret is that you are no longer available to accept this award. I know how much it meant to you to play for Pakistan, and I know how much it meant to every cricket fan in our country. I speak on behalf of the family, Rehman, Imran, Suleman, Noor Fatima, and Noor Amna, and our mother, who adored you.
The family is thrilled to discover that you are being honored in this manner, and we are tremendously proud of everything you have done on the cricket field. But our pride goes much beyond your cricket victories. We appreciate how you raised us, and how you taught us to speak out, be modest, and be kind to everyone around us. When you died, it was a big shock. We began to truly understand what you had taught us about life the moment you left.
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You were an excellent father, husband, and friend. You were always encouraging in all we accomplished, and I remember and respect your constant optimism. It was clear to see the legacy you left among cricket fans and Pakistanis in general when we went out to lunch together. Your interactions with others taught me the most about humility and being present for others when they needed it. You were the man who kept leg-spin bowling alive in the 1970s and 1980s, and while I was too young to watch you play back then, your influence lives on.
You’ve taught me a lot about cricket. I’m still heartbroken that you’re no longer among us. After all, you are the reason I was able to represent Pakistan at the international level. When Justin Langer reached me and asked me to Brisbane to bowl in the nets in front of him, I thought my international future would be with Australia. But you told me how much you wanted me to play for Pakistan and how much you valued seeing me on the national squad.
On the same day that my daughter was born, I was picked in October 2019. Unfortunately, you passed away a month earlier, but I know you would have been overjoyed to watch me play for Pakistan. Nonetheless, there were times when you were upset with me. One of the things I’ll never forget is when I was 15 and wanted to go to Pakistan tryouts, but you told me I wasn’t ready since up until that point, I’d just played cricket with a tennis ball with you.
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I snuck away and ignored your advice. You knew where I’d gone and spent half an hour shouting at me when I returned home, telling me I wasn’t ready. As soon as I informed you I’d been picked and confirmed it with the selectors, you sat me down and began planning the fields I should lay for right and left-handed hitters. Despite the fact that I was too young to witness you play international cricket, I believe it was only a few years ago that I recognized what a fantastic player you were.
You were playing against India in a veteran’s match when you communicated to me over the sightscreen that you were going to take a shot. I remember the batter leaving the first and second leg breaks before you blasted the wrong ‘un and caught him at dumb mid-on. That’s when I knew, as I stood in the stands, that God had given you a gift. You truly were one-of-a-kind. We have the same surname, yet no one else is like you.
I’ve tried to be like you, but you’re a legend in this sport and in Pakistan. I am really happy that the ICC has acknowledged your achievements.