Qadri: “There were a few nerves going about”

Thursday 25th August 2022

Men’s First Team

Qadri: “There were a few nerves going about”

After the stomach-churningly tense win over Lancashire that took the Kent Spitfires into the Royal London Cup quarter-finals, the man with the best seat in the house at Canterbury admitted he’d been as tense as everyone else.

“There were a few nerves going about, I’m not going to lie,” Hamid Qadri said, with some understatement.

With Kent needing two to win from two balls, the 21-year-old spinner watched from the non-striker’s end as Harry Podmore drove Luke Wells through the covers for four to complete an astonishing revival for the home side.

Kent’s hopes of 50-over glory looked to have been buried in a pauper’s grave when Essex beat them by 182 runs a fortnight ago, but a gritty win over Northants, followed by a jaw-dropping last-ball triumph over Yorkshire on Friday kept them in contention.

The common denominator, as Kent successfully chased 297 & 295 against the Rose counties, was that Qadri was at the other end when the winning runs were scored.

With the drama even the calmest of spectators to quivering wrecks, Qadri conceded it could have been easier: “Obviously you don’t want to be in that situation where you need three or four to win,” he said. “I just tried to get off strike and leave it to Harry Podmore to finish the job off and he was the star man.”

Kent needed three from the final over, but their last recognised batter, Harry Finch, was out to Luke Wells’ first ball, & after two dots Qadri offered Wells a tough return catch that bounced off the bowler’s fingertips, allowing Kent to scramble a single.

“I was just going to hit as straight as I could and get off strike and there was a chance, but thankfully he didn’t take it,” Qadri said.

Friday’s win over Yorkshire, was even tenser, with Grant Stewart turning down a single off the penultimate ball, leaving Kent needing six to win.

Would he have backed himself to clear the rope, knowing that a tie would have seen Kent eliminated?

“That’s a tough question, with me being 5”6 and Grant being whatever he is,” Qadri said.

“I would definitely back Grant over anyone else, but we had a chat before that second-last ball and I said if you hit to long on, or deep midwicket and if the ball’s thrown to the non-strikers’ end then I’m just running for a two regardless.

“That was the idea, but I wasn’t going to take the last ball. I was trying to give him as much strike as possible and let him finish the job as he did.”

The decision was vindicated as Stewart pulled Matt Revis for six, but as valuable as his ability to get off the strike proved, he’s also Kent’s leading wicket-taker in the Royal London Cup this season with 12, rewarding coach Simon Cook’s decision to make him the frontline spinner for the tournament.

“Simon showed a bit of faith and made it clear from the start that I would have the role in the side and he gave me the opportunity in the first couple of games,” Qadri said. “It was up to me to take it. I’ve ended up leading the wicket-taking for Kent so in that sense it’s gone ok, it’s good on a personal level, but winning is the most important thing.”

Five years after he made his first-class debut for Derbyshire at the age of 16, this could be a breakthrough year for Qadri, who is reaping the rewards of an off-season spent in the company of a couple of two Kent legends.

“I worked with James Tredwell over the Winter,” he explained. “I was trying to have that strong, stock ball because I had a few technical things last year that crept in to my game and I was just trying to get back to where I was prior to that, bowling my best ball and having plenty of energy and spinning the ball.”

More importantly, Tredwell & Min Patel got him enjoying his cricket.

“James was phenomenal, just tapping into his knowledge,” he said. “Bowling on these Canterbury wickets can be tough and obviously he’d done if for a long time, him and Min Patel as well.

“It was wonderful to have those two around and if I drop them a line or give them a call they’re always available.”

Having arrived in England from Afghanistan as a ten-year-old, Qadri in turn is passing on his knowledge, acting as an interpreter for Qais Ahmad during the Vitality Blast & welcoming the Afghan refugees invited to the Yorkshire and Lancashire games by Kent Cricket’s Community Trust (KCCT).

“I got told by Kent that they were inviting all the refugees from Canterbury and Ashford along and it was wonderful to see,” he said.

“I dropped them a message in their native language, Pashto, and they also had a translator who announced stuff on the mic. It was a great initiative by Kent & the KCCT, making sure that all people are involved from the community and brought together.

“You want to be a role model for the generation to come and set standards on and off the pitch. I look up to Moeen Ali and he’s done a great job of being a great model for the community so I like to think I can inspire the next generation and the refugees, wherever they come from, and provide them with some hope that there are opportunities.

“It’s just a matter of believing in yourself and taking them. There is a way of making it at the highest level, which is a wonderful thing.”

By Fred Atkins, ECB Reporters’ Network

The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence will once again host a full England Women’s One-Day International (WODI) match in 2022, with a Royal London WODI against India under the lights in Canterbury on Wednesday, 21 September.

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