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Gul ready to lead Pakistan attack

ESPNcricinfo staff

July 19, 2011

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Umar Gul finished with four wickets, New Zealand v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Wellington, 2nd day, January 16, 2011
Umar Gul wants to improve his record in Test cricket © Getty Images
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Umar Gul, the Pakistan fast bowler, has said he is confident of being able to lead Pakistan's bowling attack in the absence of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, both of whom have been banned from the game for at least five years for spot-fixing.

"I can handle the responsibility of leading the bowling attack for Pakistan and won't succumb to the pressure that comes with this added responsibility," Gul told Pakpassion.net. "I feel I have performed well for Pakistan over the years and will continue to do so."

Gul made his debut 2003 at the age of 19 and has become a fixture in all three formats, though his Twenty20 and one-day records are currently superior to his Test record, something he hopes to correct in the future. "In twenty-over cricket the bowlers have more energy, the batsmen take more risks and therefore it's easier to take wickets," Gul said. "Yes, no doubt in the past three or four years I've bowled well in the shorter formats of the game, but I enjoy Test cricket and it's only in the last 18 months that I haven't had great results in Test cricket.

"I'm working hard to improve my Test record and I am confident that I will succeed in that format also."

In the game's shortest version, Gul has taken 47 wickets from 34 T20Is at an average of 16.00 and an economy rate of 6.47, and credits the ability to think on his feet and adapt to changing circumstances for his success. It also helps to be able to mix it up as a bowler. "Variation also plays a major role in a bowler's armoury. You have to be able to bowl a good yorker and have the ability to mix up your pace, without the batsmen reading you. The variations are key, but it's also important that you use these varieties at the right time."

When asked about Pakistan's World Cup semi-final loss to India, a game in which Gul gave away 69 runs in eight overs, he said the pressure on Pakistan was immense and it was simply not his day. "The pressure on Pakistan was not the pressure of performing well or losing, rather it was the pressure of the mounting expectations from fans all over the world. In addition, there was a break of several days between the quarter-final and the semi-final and rather than just getting on to do the business of playing the match, we had to wait around for a few days before the match.

"That meant that the hype surrounding the match just grew and grew. Also the Indian side saw me as one of the key players in the Pakistan side and targeted my bowling that day. They were successful in their approach and unfortunately it wasn't my day."

Gul is currently playing for Sussex in the Friends Life t20 tournament and is relishing the experience, saying his stint there is important in his overall development as a cricketer. "The management team and the players are very good, there is a very professional and positive approach and there is no such thing as a blame culture. It doesn't matter if you have a good game or not, everyone backs each other and there is no criticism."

A number of other Pakistan internationals, including his former captain Shahid Afridi, are also competing in the same tournament, and Gul said he is enjoying going up against them. "We all know each others' strengths and weaknesses and I'm sure it makes for interesting viewing."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (July 21, 2011, 13:28 GMT)

lol when did this turn into an India vs Pakistan debate....

Gul is a world class bowler...he must work on his consistency. Yorkers are not going to work for him in test matches. He is good at yorkers...he must now work on his length and ability to stay fit.

With aamer and asif gone..now more than ever he has tremendous pressure on his shoulders.

Posted by SaudAlvi on (July 21, 2011, 13:23 GMT)

Pakistan has so many fast bowlers with potential , that fans can talk of umer gul as just another guy :). Lets not jump the gun - he was/is as talented if not more compared to all the alternatives being talked about. Every one has bad patches - he is a hard working player and a CLEAN player needs our support - getting thrashed by Shewag - that can happen to anyone .. ANYONE .. trust me there is no one in the world at this moment who shewag can't destroy on a batting pitch ( pitch with a side movement is a different story)

Posted by khurramsch on (July 21, 2011, 10:08 GMT)

@ g.narsimha: dear i wont coment on other things you wrote coz i think u r right. india played well to be at no1 test ranking & WC. this is game & one should take advantage of other error so its nothing luck or nothing else its just good indian game. BUT thing i wil say is " FULL STRENGTH PAK TEST Team?" wel that cant be right. yes it could b available team but nobody in that played more than 35 matches.even few have less than 20.& even all total of that team's palayer played less matches than dravid alone. indian 2nd grade team ( According to you) has laxman, dravid, dhoni, harbhajhan. & also stil that team has many palyers with average of 40 +.

Posted by   on (July 20, 2011, 16:12 GMT)

Why is everybody forgetting how Wahab Riaz destroyed India in the semi? The only reason India won that semi was extremely and unbelievably poor batting from Pakistan, as well as 5 dropped catches and a bit of bias in umpiring!

Sorry, but if you are going to bring up the question of the semi, here's the hard truth then ^^

Posted by   on (July 20, 2011, 12:23 GMT)

India's fastest Bowler bowls at 75 Mph!! average speed of our spinner Shahid Afridi!! :P

Posted by Cricket_Man on (July 20, 2011, 11:48 GMT)

Umar Gul has a typical old fashioned mindset. He thinks that earlier on good length bowling will get you wickets and yorkers are to be used at the ending part of an innings. Good length bowling will get you wickets if you are a master of it which he is not Malinga is a successful bowler because he uses his weapon more often and even bowls yorkers at the start of an innings. Gul needs to learn that if his strength is yorker then he should bowl YORKERS no matter what part of the innings he is bowling at. He should solely focus on yorkers and should just bowl length bowling twice in an over. His yorkers are unplayable so he has the talent but he needs to use it more.

Posted by   on (July 20, 2011, 10:35 GMT)

Why ppl are comparing Pak players with indian...

Posted by lethal007 on (July 20, 2011, 10:16 GMT)

@Sehwagologis: i think indian fans have forgotten the 1996 semi final defeat.........so my dear so called sports lovers or cric fans winning n losing thrashing and achieving is just a part n parcel of any game, what happen if pak lost and india won the semis.............n its not about an individual its about team and GUL is top performer although semi was n't the day.......... GUL u rocked the stumps of great ones your the best

Posted by abytude on (July 20, 2011, 10:13 GMT)

erm.. please dont trust him :) hes not a test bowler. Period. Unearth some one new and work on him.

Posted by   on (July 20, 2011, 9:19 GMT)

One of the few consistent bowlers in the world, please exclude the WC semi final, it can happen to anyone. He has a big task on his shoulders now considering Amir and Asif are no longer around but I think he has the experience to make it big. Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz can provide him with adequate support. Come on Pakistan!!!

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