Pakistan news July 31, 2013

Gul eyes October return against SA

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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

  • POSTED BY Fineline 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.

  • POSTED BY 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.

    .

  • POSTED BY 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!

  • POSTED BY mohsinalii3318 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.

  • POSTED BY asim229 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.

  • POSTED BY 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.

  • POSTED BY WasimGh 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.

  • POSTED BY 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.

  • POSTED BY on | August 1, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    @WasimGh... Gul's last 4 wicket (in an ODI) haul came in Dec 2011 http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/538070.html 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.

  • POSTED BY avmd 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.

  • POSTED BY Fineline 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.

  • POSTED BY 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.

    .

  • POSTED BY 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!

  • POSTED BY mohsinalii3318 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.

  • POSTED BY asim229 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.

  • POSTED BY 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.

  • POSTED BY WasimGh 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.

  • POSTED BY 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.

  • POSTED BY on | August 1, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    @WasimGh... Gul's last 4 wicket (in an ODI) haul came in Dec 2011 http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/538070.html 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.

  • POSTED BY avmd 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.

  • POSTED BY Shrekk on | August 1, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    I hope to god Gul doesn't get out of rehab in time..the entire team will have to schedule a rehab if he gets back.

  • POSTED BY Anwar-Lara on | July 31, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    He should come back we need a 3 rd seamer alongside Irfan and Junaid,yes he was not bowling well before his injury but that doesn't mean he will never bowl well!! common people give seniors some respect they richly deserve it and we know how much we struggled with the 3rd seamer in recently concluded W.I tour and champions trophy.

  • POSTED BY Baba_Sehgal on | July 31, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    I think Instead of Gul, Pakistan should stick with Asad Ali and possibly bring in Sadaf Hussain and Rahat Ali. Asad Ali is a good prospect and needs a little time to show his full potential. He did well in the last ODI in WI and although he does not have express speed, he has accuracy. And I would take Asad's accuracy over Wahab's and Sami's speed any day. More than Gul, what Pakistan really misses is a fast bowling allrounder. Hammad Azam has not shown much promise so far. Maybe PCB should look at other options.

  • POSTED BY Travian.Cricket on | July 31, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Gul's main weapon has always been his reverse swing or his excellent death bowling. With the two new balls rule Gul's usefulness in ODI's is quite limited. His future lies in test cricket and T20's as far as I can see.

  • POSTED BY Sports4Youth on | July 31, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    It is good that Good will not be fit or available for the Zimbabwe series. Otherwise he would only block some younster as he did in the last 2 yaers or more. In the last 2 years he played all the practice matches and played against all smaller teams incuding Bangladesh & Afghanistan etc, as a result he kept out the younsters and in the end his performance kept going only southwards. So thats it Mr.Gul, we had enough of you.

  • POSTED BY Sports4Youth on | July 31, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    Guys like GUL, RIAZ & SAMI have only delayed the arrival of M.IRFAN & JUNAID. So please Mr Gul and also Mr.Riaz & Sami please stay away from the younster, they are doing just fine without you and they do not nead the support of any seniors.

  • POSTED BY Saadcricketlover on | July 31, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    gul should only play t20s and shud be a sub bowler in odis, we have better test bowlers a lot of us wants to see sdaf hussain and anwar ali in his last first class hussain gave 108 runs in 23 overs o wickets in febuary and has played no cricket since and anwar ali is expensive and didn't perform against afghanistan A bowling 6 overs 0 wickets 36 runs currently bilawal bhatti is the best and has a good bowling speed around 135 kph

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    Gul will be far better than Wahab Riaz. I acnnot understand why the selectors persist with W. Riaz. From a South African

  • POSTED BY WasimGh on | July 31, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    @Osman: Gul's last 4 wicket haul came 3 years ago with the old ball. Three days earlier he also had a 6 wicket haul vs England when chasing 241 they went from 201/5 to 218 all out thanks to Gul's reverse swing. Gul has since played 43 ODIs, including minnows, without taking a 4 wicket haul. He is averaging 43 since 2012 (including minnows) with NO wickets vs Eng and SA in 5 games. Unfortunately, gone are those days of reverse swing and exciting ODIs. The 2 new balls rule means no reverse swinging match changing ODIs we took for granted in the 90s. Spinners like Ajmal have also been hurt but Gul was all about the old ball and terrible with new ball.

  • POSTED BY salman_0902 on | July 31, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    People who think Gul should not be included in the side have no clue what they are asking for. All junaid Irfan Amir Riaz are left hand bowlers. Pakistan doesn't have a good right hand bowler. Gul is the only one that can bring variety to the attack which is missing.

  • POSTED BY Chaudry_Cricket on | July 31, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Gul should only play in odi and t20s NOT tests because he has under achived in tests. The reason he should play odi and t20s is because he will support junaid and irfan nicely. He can play the third seamer role and I think this break will have helped him recover and think why he has not been the guldozer we all love to see. And to be honest if he does get his mojo back then we will have a death bowler who can fire in them toe crushing yorkers. Best of luck Guldozer and hope to see you back soon.

  • POSTED BY Sports4Youth on | July 31, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    I dont think that GUL or Riaz should return to the Pak team now or ever, because if he conmes into the team he will only slow down the progress of developing the younsters like it has happened in the last 2 or more years. There are a lot of deserving youngsters who still have not got any reasonble opportunity for eg SADAF HUSSAIN, RAHAT ALI, ASAD ALI, EHSAN ADIL etc.

    So please Mr.Gul, thanks a lot but NO, no one needs you.

    .

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 31, 2013, 16:46 GMT

    Maybe this will be an opportunity to bring back the good Gul. You know, the one who pitched it up and swung the old and the new ball dangerously. We've had the bad Gul for too long now, the one who seems to believe he needs to pitch everything short and wide and somehow this will help the team...

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    That's where you're wrong Wasim. Gul has underachieved in Tests, but in the limited overs format his experience will count for a lot. The best course of action I feel will be to slowly phase him out by the time he is around 33 or 34, by which time Junaid Khan will have gained quite a bit of experience, and Mohammad Aamir will be close to making a comeback. Too bad Irfan is already on the wrong side of 30. With our aging squad, we definitely need all the 'young experience' we can get, and Gul is a perfect example of the very same. Too soon to write him off just because he hit a rather lean patch in his last few games.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    Umar Gul Should Definitely not be able to take Junaid and Irfan`s spot, they both are doing an amazing job right now. However Replace Wahab Riaz with Umar Gul. Gul is an excellent depth bowler, we saw how mediocre Riaz was, plus he can hit a few lusty blows as well (Pak Vs SA World T20). So Umar Gul as the third seamer is a good option.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    The Pakistan pace attack is missing his experience... we all wish him a speedy recovery and hope he returns stronger and a better bowler.

  • POSTED BY WasimGh on | July 31, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    No thanks Gul. You kept people like Irfan and Junaid from debuting with your mediocre bowling when you were given a free ride. With two new balls in ODIs and reverse swing gone, you are useless. Short of length ball is not going to swing and you haven't bowled a yorker in years. You can still be a third seamer in T20, but knowing our selectors they will draft you into ODIs and tests after a few good yorkers in T20s. Maybe you should sue ICC who finished off the ODI careers of reverse swing bowlers, along with those dramatic ODI finishes, with the 2 new ball rule. You were the last of that breed but you have been rendered useless now.

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  • POSTED BY WasimGh on | July 31, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    No thanks Gul. You kept people like Irfan and Junaid from debuting with your mediocre bowling when you were given a free ride. With two new balls in ODIs and reverse swing gone, you are useless. Short of length ball is not going to swing and you haven't bowled a yorker in years. You can still be a third seamer in T20, but knowing our selectors they will draft you into ODIs and tests after a few good yorkers in T20s. Maybe you should sue ICC who finished off the ODI careers of reverse swing bowlers, along with those dramatic ODI finishes, with the 2 new ball rule. You were the last of that breed but you have been rendered useless now.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    The Pakistan pace attack is missing his experience... we all wish him a speedy recovery and hope he returns stronger and a better bowler.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    Umar Gul Should Definitely not be able to take Junaid and Irfan`s spot, they both are doing an amazing job right now. However Replace Wahab Riaz with Umar Gul. Gul is an excellent depth bowler, we saw how mediocre Riaz was, plus he can hit a few lusty blows as well (Pak Vs SA World T20). So Umar Gul as the third seamer is a good option.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    That's where you're wrong Wasim. Gul has underachieved in Tests, but in the limited overs format his experience will count for a lot. The best course of action I feel will be to slowly phase him out by the time he is around 33 or 34, by which time Junaid Khan will have gained quite a bit of experience, and Mohammad Aamir will be close to making a comeback. Too bad Irfan is already on the wrong side of 30. With our aging squad, we definitely need all the 'young experience' we can get, and Gul is a perfect example of the very same. Too soon to write him off just because he hit a rather lean patch in his last few games.

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 31, 2013, 16:46 GMT

    Maybe this will be an opportunity to bring back the good Gul. You know, the one who pitched it up and swung the old and the new ball dangerously. We've had the bad Gul for too long now, the one who seems to believe he needs to pitch everything short and wide and somehow this will help the team...

  • POSTED BY Sports4Youth on | July 31, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    I dont think that GUL or Riaz should return to the Pak team now or ever, because if he conmes into the team he will only slow down the progress of developing the younsters like it has happened in the last 2 or more years. There are a lot of deserving youngsters who still have not got any reasonble opportunity for eg SADAF HUSSAIN, RAHAT ALI, ASAD ALI, EHSAN ADIL etc.

    So please Mr.Gul, thanks a lot but NO, no one needs you.

    .

  • POSTED BY Chaudry_Cricket on | July 31, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Gul should only play in odi and t20s NOT tests because he has under achived in tests. The reason he should play odi and t20s is because he will support junaid and irfan nicely. He can play the third seamer role and I think this break will have helped him recover and think why he has not been the guldozer we all love to see. And to be honest if he does get his mojo back then we will have a death bowler who can fire in them toe crushing yorkers. Best of luck Guldozer and hope to see you back soon.

  • POSTED BY salman_0902 on | July 31, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    People who think Gul should not be included in the side have no clue what they are asking for. All junaid Irfan Amir Riaz are left hand bowlers. Pakistan doesn't have a good right hand bowler. Gul is the only one that can bring variety to the attack which is missing.

  • POSTED BY WasimGh on | July 31, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    @Osman: Gul's last 4 wicket haul came 3 years ago with the old ball. Three days earlier he also had a 6 wicket haul vs England when chasing 241 they went from 201/5 to 218 all out thanks to Gul's reverse swing. Gul has since played 43 ODIs, including minnows, without taking a 4 wicket haul. He is averaging 43 since 2012 (including minnows) with NO wickets vs Eng and SA in 5 games. Unfortunately, gone are those days of reverse swing and exciting ODIs. The 2 new balls rule means no reverse swinging match changing ODIs we took for granted in the 90s. Spinners like Ajmal have also been hurt but Gul was all about the old ball and terrible with new ball.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    Gul will be far better than Wahab Riaz. I acnnot understand why the selectors persist with W. Riaz. From a South African