Karachi, May 20: Pakistan's legendary leg-spinner Abdul Qadir saluted Shane Warne on Friday, hailing the Australian as a "diamond" who left an indelible impression on the game with his exemplary skill.
The 41-year-old Warne bows out from cricket on Friday in an Indian Premier League match for the Rajasthan Royals against Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai, ending a glorious and controversial career.
"I found Shane a great human being and a great cricketer.
I use the word great for only a few players, like I can use it for Tendulkar and Warne," Qadir told AFP. "For me Warne was a diamond for his exemplary skills."
Qadir, himself revered as a great spinner during the 70s and 80s, said Warne was an inspiration for youngsters in Australia and everywhere the game is played, and wished him a "happy and successful life" in the future.
The end of Warne''s glittering career, he said: "leaves me sad because in his bowling I used to see myself, the great art of spin and everything a cricketer or a cricket lover can cherish."
Qadir, who took 236 Tests and 132 one-day wickets during his career, remembered meeting Warne at his home in the eastern city of Lahore in 1994.
"Every interaction I had with Warne was memorable. He always respected me and I can''t forget the day he came to meet me in my house in Lahore in 1995.
"He asked me about some tips. He listened with respect to whatever I told him and after that, whenever we met, he gave me the respect of a teacher and a former leg spinner," said Qadir.
Another Pakistan leg-spinner, Danish Kaneria -- who is trying to gain clearance to play for the national side after becoming embroiled in a spot-fixing scandal in Britain -- also hailed Warne.
"Warne was a great leg spinner. I respected him as a cricketer and whenever I had some problems in my bowling I asked him for help and he never refused," said Kaneria.
The last time the pair met was in England, Kaneria recalled, adding that Warne spent an hour giving him tips in the nets at Edgbaston which "helped me raise my confidence".
"I played against him - both in county and in Pakistan-Australia series and found him a fierce competitor.
He never used to give up and had so many tricks up his sleeves. It will be hugely difficult to find another Warne."