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."

Comments have now been closed for this article

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    ,

    .

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    ,

    .

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Chaudry_Cricket on September 21, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    Gul is needed in limited overs cricket, he should play as a third seamer to Junaid and Irfan in odi. He should lead the attack in t20 (the format which Junaid and Irfan should not play). But in test Gul is a big NO!!!!. In test you can not keep bowling short of a length expecting different results. He should look to find form which he displayed in the 09 t20 cup where he bowled with pace, bounce and those toe-crushing yorkers were fantastic. And most importantly he bowled with a plan and brain. For the last 2 years he has bowled pretty bad and has not used his experience and brain when bowling. Lets hope he finds form and uses his brain because he could still be a force in limited overs cricket. BUT NOT IN TEST.!!!

  • SaadRocx on September 21, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    Hope he can produce something magical in UAE to me the Bowling attack in Tests vs SA should be (Gul,Junaid,Rahat,Saeed Ajmal,Zulfiqar Babar)...Mohd Irfan would not be good for the tests he lacks Test fitness (bigtime) and unable to produce longer spells..and Zulfiqar Babar in for Rehman just because Zulfiqar Babar is new and Saffers haven't read him yet and he's a class bowler i'm having a feeling that he'd produce something magical there..!

  • avmd on September 21, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    I'm a Pak team supporter and I agree, we should stop dreaming and face the reality. Team is deteriorating fast, young talent is not upto the mark and oldies will not be there for ever. We have to manage the limited resources smartly. Stop picking up the older failed players for every format like Hafeez for tests and also guys like Faisal Iqbal and Farhat. Take risks with younger ones, that would be the only chance of making a good team in future. Pakistan will not be the top team any time soon, untill security improved and international cricket returned. Use Gul and Irfan for limited overs format only. Bring in Zia-ul-Haq to national team, even that sounds a bit pre-mature. Keep Junaid, Wahab, Rahat and Zia-ul-Haq for tests. Nothing wrong with playing your three best bowlers in test, even that mean playing 3 spinners Amjad, Rehman and Babar with a solitary fastman Junaid , at times.

  • RankPace on September 21, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Somebody here is dreaming that Razzaq is going to comeback in the test team. For the time being there seems to be no indication of him comming back into the ODI team. Though I would like to see in the the ODI & T20i teams.

  • RankPace on September 21, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    @ Naveed : And you think that if you had Mr.Gul in the team, the situation would have been better? You are wrong, it would have been worst.

  • Naveed on September 21, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    @ RankPace "Dear Mr.Umar Gul, The bowling unit has been just fine without you."

    yes we are fine even after leaking 300 runs to a team like Zimbabwe.

  • on September 21, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    some body say we are not missing gul! it is his opinion but he will see how are team get strong for by the comming back of razzak and gul....

  • RankPace on September 21, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    It would be much better if Mr.Umar Gul is kept out for a little longer. This way we can find some more younsters or new players like Junaid, Irfan, Rahat etc.

    I personally think just like Hafeez we had too much of Gul. Now not any more please.

  • Stark62 on September 21, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    He should definitely be recalled to the T20 side and maybe, even the ODI team but a resounding NO, in Tests!!

  • RankPace on September 21, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Dear Mr.Umar Gul, The bowling unit has been just fine without you. So please do not worry about the team and please take your time to play some domestic tournaments before you decide to rush into the team. In any case your performance in the last 2 years was horrible. Nobody misses you. The younger guys are definitely better.

  • on September 21, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Pakistan are a pathetic team now. A 'top' team not only lost to minnows in an ODI but lost a Test match as well and could've quite easily lost the test series :D

  • Jadejafan on September 21, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Pakistan are a declining Cricket team unfortunately and that's judging by their performances in the last few years. Not only the team is the oldest but the young 'talent' they have coming through is just nowhere near as good as the past pakistani legends. The team has even been struggling against teams like Ireland, Bangladesh and of course Zimbabwe over the last year and that's with their seniors like Misbah, YK, Ajmal etc and its hard to think what this pakistani team will be like without them but good luck! :)

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  • Jadejafan on September 21, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Pakistan are a declining Cricket team unfortunately and that's judging by their performances in the last few years. Not only the team is the oldest but the young 'talent' they have coming through is just nowhere near as good as the past pakistani legends. The team has even been struggling against teams like Ireland, Bangladesh and of course Zimbabwe over the last year and that's with their seniors like Misbah, YK, Ajmal etc and its hard to think what this pakistani team will be like without them but good luck! :)

  • on September 21, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Pakistan are a pathetic team now. A 'top' team not only lost to minnows in an ODI but lost a Test match as well and could've quite easily lost the test series :D

  • RankPace on September 21, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Dear Mr.Umar Gul, The bowling unit has been just fine without you. So please do not worry about the team and please take your time to play some domestic tournaments before you decide to rush into the team. In any case your performance in the last 2 years was horrible. Nobody misses you. The younger guys are definitely better.

  • Stark62 on September 21, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    He should definitely be recalled to the T20 side and maybe, even the ODI team but a resounding NO, in Tests!!

  • RankPace on September 21, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    It would be much better if Mr.Umar Gul is kept out for a little longer. This way we can find some more younsters or new players like Junaid, Irfan, Rahat etc.

    I personally think just like Hafeez we had too much of Gul. Now not any more please.

  • on September 21, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    some body say we are not missing gul! it is his opinion but he will see how are team get strong for by the comming back of razzak and gul....

  • Naveed on September 21, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    @ RankPace "Dear Mr.Umar Gul, The bowling unit has been just fine without you."

    yes we are fine even after leaking 300 runs to a team like Zimbabwe.

  • RankPace on September 21, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    @ Naveed : And you think that if you had Mr.Gul in the team, the situation would have been better? You are wrong, it would have been worst.

  • RankPace on September 21, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Somebody here is dreaming that Razzaq is going to comeback in the test team. For the time being there seems to be no indication of him comming back into the ODI team. Though I would like to see in the the ODI & T20i teams.

  • avmd on September 21, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    I'm a Pak team supporter and I agree, we should stop dreaming and face the reality. Team is deteriorating fast, young talent is not upto the mark and oldies will not be there for ever. We have to manage the limited resources smartly. Stop picking up the older failed players for every format like Hafeez for tests and also guys like Faisal Iqbal and Farhat. Take risks with younger ones, that would be the only chance of making a good team in future. Pakistan will not be the top team any time soon, untill security improved and international cricket returned. Use Gul and Irfan for limited overs format only. Bring in Zia-ul-Haq to national team, even that sounds a bit pre-mature. Keep Junaid, Wahab, Rahat and Zia-ul-Haq for tests. Nothing wrong with playing your three best bowlers in test, even that mean playing 3 spinners Amjad, Rehman and Babar with a solitary fastman Junaid , at times.