Pakistan news September 21, 2013

Gul eyes return to competitive cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff
22

Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul has said he is eyeing a return to competitive cricket after a knee injury he suffered in South Africa kept him out of action for more than six months. Gul suffered the injury in the second ODI of the series against South Africa and six weeks after undergoing a knee surgery in Australia in May, he started his rehabilitation programme at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.

"I'm pretty optimistic of getting back the rhythm as I feel fine at the moment," Gul told Dawn, a Pakistan daily. "It is just that there is no competition at present to find out the actual status of [my] fitness. Everything appears to be settling down. The knee is fine with no signs of ill-effects from the surgery I had a few months ago. Over the past 15 days, I have started bowling in the nets as well."

Pakistan's next international series is next month, against South Africa again, and Gul said he has started bowling in the nets but the absence of any form of cricket currently has made it difficult for him to assess his fitness and form properly. His fitness will most likely be assessed by the PCB during the pre-tour camp, which begins in Lahore next week.

"I am yearning to play some matches to test myself," he said. "Although I have trained [during rehabilitation] and then bowling [in the nets], one can't aspire to judge both the level of fitness and form if there is no competitive sort of matches."

The injury kept Gul out of the Champions Trophy, Pakistan's tour of West Indies in July and the series against Zimbabwe in August and September. Pakistan's performances varied in these months as they first lost their three matches in the Champions Trophy, won the ODI and Twenty20 series against West Indies and Zimbabwe but suffered a shock defeat in the second Test against Zimbabwe to share the series 1-1. Whatever the results, Gul said he was not worried about missing out on cricket because of the surgery.

"I'm obviously not worried about the number of matches I missed because of the surgery," he said. "But it was quite difficult to sit out and watch team-mates playing without me. Fortunately, the injury this time was not as serious as the one I suffered in 2004 when three stress fractures of the back sidelined me from the game for more than a year. At that stage I feared my career was over."

Starting October 14, Pakistan will host South Africa in the UAE for two Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, a tour Gul would be targeting. However, his recovery in the next few weeks will decide if he will be able to regain full fitness or not.

"It will be a great Test series because Pakistan have the potential to compete against them," Gul said. "We may have lost against them earlier this year but our side can win because the conditions will suit us more than we encountered in South Africa. I would love to play against them, but it all depends how it all goes for me in the coming weeks."

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  • Ibrarhunzai on September 25, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Bring Gul only for limited overs matches. He is not a bowler of Test MAtch calibre

  • dummy4fb on September 24, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    Problem with umar Gul is that he sometimes is so desperate to get a wicket that he starts Trying everything at onetime and starts leaking valuable runs . Needs a tight control by the captain to take him off when this happens instead of letting him try any further. Not a good opening bowler lack of pace,should concentrate on his batting to become a All rounder.

  • dummy4fb on September 23, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    I don't get why people are hating on Umer Gul and saying he hasn't done much since 2002, That is wrong . Umer has bowled well in most of his matches and has been a wicket taker.He makes the team have a good bowling combination and yeah sure their were some matches were he didn't bowl well but everyone has those days. Also I dont get why people are saying he is going to ruin a younger bowlers carriers because the up coming bowler look really pathetic even tho some aren't. Pakistan looks at who could win matches for the country not young players that can sorta play well.

  • dummy4fb on September 23, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Pakistan is indeed showing signs of decline however ups and downs are part of the game! Look at the once mighty Aussies, at one time they were invincible not so long ago however right now their new talent is low quality like Pakistan's, situation will hopefully reverse soon, keep the faith.

  • Sports4Youth on September 22, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    I agree with avmd, Chaudry_Cricket, Kingsland & Javed Sani.

    Gul will only come into the team to spoil the prospects of the young & upcoming bowlers and I don't expect him to improve because if he did not improve since 2002 then how will he suddenly start improving now. He & Sami have not improved even a bit in so many years of exposure to the highest level. Time to just dump them and move forward.

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  • dummy4fb on September 22, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    gul is the most under rated bowler of Pakistan his bowling has made us loose some t20 and one day matches but sometime in his bowling he has the capacity to produce one or two balls that are called wicket taker.i wish him speedy recovery and aplace in the Pakistan t20 and one day matches. Javed Sani.USA.

  • android_user on September 22, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    all the comments here make no sense we need gul in the team cuz wahab,asad ali, nd who ever been used as a third pacer all of them are failed to prove nd make our bowling side look weak but all u guys should remember bfor his injury he was the ome who was leading the bowling attack nd under him junaid nd irfan will also learn frm him and also he can bat better then all his replacements we used so all haters stop hating bcuz our bowling didnt look strong against zim. nethier against in champions trophy so idk wat u guys thinkin

  • Crick_Expert on September 22, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    PCB should look forward and give chance to young bowler. No one like weak bowler like GUL anymore. GUL should say bye to cricket forever.

  • Crick_Expert on September 22, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    Thanks Mr. GUL for your interest, but we don't like to be back. You already done nothing in past 10 years.

  • Jda123 on September 21, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    Gul absent showed why he is essential for Pakistan cricket, I don't know whether he would be right for the Test but if he is recovered and can play he should be in for the ODI and T20.

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