Derbyshire turn the tables by switching to the spin of Tahir and Qadri

(Photo: Getty Images)

By Nigel Gardner

The times certainly are a- changing. Brexit, Trump, the rise of Corbyn and now Derbyshire, the county that breeds fast bowlers, fields a team with TWO front-line spinners.

It was hard to believe when Imran Tahir and the 16-year-old Hamidullah Qadri were bowling in tandem at Queen’s Park on Tuesday evening that so much of Derbyshire’s past triumphs had come from the pace and seam of Cliff Gladwin, Les and Brian Jackson, Harold Rhodes, Alan Ward and Mike Hendrick.

But the new way is clearly working with Tahir emulating Qadri by taking five in an innings on debut for his sixth county. So in the space of six days, the pair became the youngest and the oldest to bag five on their first appearance for the county.

At 38, Tahir is in the twilight of his career but Qadri has a very bright future ahead of him unless his astonishing exploits of the last week turn out to be a false dawn.

He is the youngest to take five wickets on debut since one WG Grace in 1865 when, it’s safe to say, the world certainly was a different place, and after watching him up close at Chesterfield, Tahir predicts further prosperity for the Afghan-born off-spinner.

“I was very excited when I heard about him and, although I wasn’t here in the last game, I saw that he took five wickets and he’s only 16 – that’s unbelievable. When I started I didn’t get five wickets in my first game so I’m really happy for him.

“He’s been picked for England U19s and, from my point of view, as much as I can help him I will.

“He’s a wonderful bowler, he’s very consistent and it was lovely to see how well he bowled. He’s going to have a very bright future. His control for a 16-year-old is unbelievable which already makes him a very good bowler.”

But neither Tahir or Qadri could break the matchwinning fifth-wicket partnership of Jack Burnham (93 not) and Ryan Pringle (62 not) whose 127-run stand steered Durham home on the final afternoon after the spinners had reduced the visitors to 158-4.

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