Pakistan news July 31, 2013

Gul eyes October return against SA


Umar Gul, the Pakistan fast bowler, has admitted he felt disappointed watching his team-mates play without him, but added he was not worried about the time he has lost due to injury. Gul is currently at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, undergoing rehabilitation following knee surgery. His return for the upcoming Zimbabwe tour remains unlikely, and he is eyeing the South Africa series in October after regaining full fitness.

Gul sustained the knee injury in March during the second ODI against South Africa in Centurion and has been sidelined since. He travelled to Australia for surgery and after six weeks of rest, began his rehabilitation. He, however, has restricted himself to the gym and bowling from a spot along with minor jogging. "I don't want to press for a hasty return," Gul told ESPNcricinfo. "According to the doctor, I could have started training after a four-week gap, but I don't want to take risks and would rather take my time to recover."

This isn't the first instance of Gul being forced to sit out due to injury. He faced a career-threatening situation when he was diagnosed with three stress fractures of the back during India's tour of Pakistan in 2004 and missed over a year of cricket. His present knee injury had ruled him out of the final Test against South Africa earlier this year. He came back to play the first two ODIs, but missed the rest of the series, the Champions Trophy and the recent West Indies tour.

"I am not worried about my lost time though it is a tough phase sitting out," said Gul, who is currently Pakistan's most experienced bowler with 47 Tests and 116 ODIs. "Yes, sometimes I do feel pinched watching my colleagues playing without me but they are doing a good job. Injuries are part of life as earlier I was out of action for more than a year [in 2004 and 2005]. This time it's not that serious but still surgery was required.

"I have been completely inactive in swinging my arms and obviously with such a gap you need to rework your strength though the basics remain the same," he said. "I am hoping to be fit by Zimbabwe but my main target is the South Africa series. I am currently just gaining back my strength with gym work and will start bowling with a run-up in the next three to four days."

Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan have become an integral part of the Pakistan attack, but Gul spoke about the importance of having a senior bowler with the mix of inexperienced fast bowlers.

"They are doing a good job but having a senior around will be very supportive for them," he said. "Every player has to cope with pressure but speaking to a senior player will help them to handle it better so it would be a privilege for me to stand for them at mid-on or mid-off and help them when they need me. I wanted a senior to stand beside me , talk to me and help me out of pressure situations and I used to have Shoaib Akhtar assisting me whenever I crumbled under pressure."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mohammad on August 5, 2013, 22:12 GMT

    The only man who he can replace is Wahab Riaz.I want him to come back soon and fire for Pakistan.I still remember when he took 5-6 against New Zealand and South Africa.

  • RankPace on August 2, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    In the last year before injury GUL was bowlling around the 130kmph mark. That was very bad. Now after the injury i dont expect him to do better. And even at that pace he lacked control and consistency and continued to be expensive & wicketless. Even after spending 10 years at the highest level Umar Gul has shown no imporvement at all. Now there is absolutely no point in investing in him. He is over the hill.

    It will be a better Idiea to start investing in younsterss like SADAF HUSSAIN, RAHAT ALI, ASAD ALI, and may be a litttle later even EHSAN ADIL etc. That way atleast you can expect to build something for the future.


  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    No one can Guldoze the opponent better than Umar. I strongly feel that Asad is not an option at all over Gul neither Wahab. We already have good two left arm bowlers in the shape of Irfan and Junaid and one right arm will definitely help our pace attack!

  • Mohsin on August 2, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    Hammad should be given 2 overs to bowl in twenty over cricket so that he can prove himself.

  • Asim on August 1, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    Wahab Riaz to me is a much better bowler than Asad Ali when in form. Pace is always important at the inetrnational level bcse if you got pace then you can always learn accuracy and movement and become a good bowler. Junaid Khan and Ifran also went for plenty of runs in the 4th,5th ODi and T20s but no one is saying that they should be dropped. They bowled the crucial overs Wahab was bowling before and went for even more runs than Wahab was going for.I think Umar Gul is still the best pakistani bowlers when it is reversing as the new bowlers are not very good at reversing the bowlers like the pak bowlers of 80s and 90s.

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    "They are doing a good job but having a senior around will be very supportive for them," Well, it made me laugh a bit Gul saying that. I think he is trying to produce some space for himself. But I think he is good. And he should be back in the team for SA Team.

  • Wasim on August 1, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    @Osman: What I meant to say was his last 4 wicket haul against a non-minnow team was 3 years ago. I was talking about ODIs. I said he should be in T20 team. Good job picking out a solitary 4 wicket haul vs Bangladesh in last 3 years and ignoring rest of the facts like averaging 43 since 2012 even with minnow bashing.

  • RankPace on August 1, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    This willl be very unfair on the present young breed of bowlers if Gul walks straight into the team after the surgery. It will send a wrong signal to the players that hard work is not rewarded when it comes to favorism. UMAR GUL has had a horrid couple of years before the injury. Infact I seriouly believed that he was actullly dropped during the SA series, his performance was so bad. He is very expesive and now a days hardly gets wickets. Pakistan is better off without him.

    In T20I he can be used as a third bowler at the best.

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    @WasimGh... Gul's last 4 wicket (in an ODI) haul came in Dec 2011 which isnt 3 years ago by any means. Moreover, if you go to Gul's recent matches on his Cricinfo profile, very recently he took 5/6 in a T20... Get your facts straight, sir, and don't undermine Gul. He is still valuable, if only for 3 or 4 years more.

  • Avais on August 1, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    Looking at Wahab and before that Sami, its obvious that pace is not the only thing required for success at international level, but some pace is must along with accuracy and movement. Without pace a bowler can be successful at the substandard Pakistani wickets but not at international level. No wonder bowlers like Asad Ali, Hammad Azam ( he is not really a bowler, neither a batsman ) Tanveer and Sadaf Hussain have no chance at international level. We should give a chance to bowlers like Talha, Anwar Ali and Jamal, at least they have some pace.

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