Pakistan news May 13, 2014

Gul expresses interest in T20 captaincy

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Umar Gul, the Pakistan fast bowler, has expressed interest in filling the vacant post of national Twenty20 captain, though he insisted he first wants to return to top form. The PCB has been looking for a Twenty20 captain since the World T20, after which Mohammad Hafeez stepped down.

Gul, 30, is a vastly experienced T20 player but had a difficult 2013 when he was sidelined by injury for nine months, before returning in December. Doubts over his fitness resurfaced when he withdrew from the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka in January. However, he continues to make the limited-overs squads and is currently the world's second highest T20 wicket-taker and one of the most senior players in the Pakistan squad.

"I also wish to be a captain so that when I retire I will be remembered as former captain," Gul told reporters at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "But it depends on PCB what they think. I want to return to performing like I used to in the past, and if so then why not (consider the captaincy). But I have no issue playing under any captain, either the senior or junior, and recently I have fully supported Hafeez as well."

Gul sustained a knee injury in March 2013 during the second ODI against South Africa in Centurion, and has missed five series since, including the Champions Trophy. Following the injury, he travelled to Australia for surgery and after six weeks of rest, began his rehabilitation.

"It's very difficult to come back after injury in international cricket but still I am lucky enough to survive. Though things were a bit up and down I am feeling much better in this summer camp. I am trying to do hard training more than others so that I could be as much fit as I was before operation."

He took nearly a year to regain full fitness, and has re-established himself in the limited-overs sides, though his Test career remains in the balance.

"I haven't yet decided whether I am fully fit for Test matches but this summer camp will obviously give me a great opportunity to fine-tune myself in the time without international cricket. I can't say whether I will be fit again (for Test cricket) but I will see later (after the camp) whether I am fit for Test matches or not.

"T20 is easier than Test and ODI, in one hour 20 minutes you have to bowl a four-over spell, every player is preferring to play and you don't need that much fitness for it. But for the sake of fitness and for the ongoing training camp I had turned down an offer from Somerset so that I could prepare hard for the upcoming international cricket."

After the World T20 in Bangladesh ended in early April, Pakistan have no international cricket till August. The PCB decided to hold a month-long summer camp to ensure the players stay fit during the international break. Gul is among 40 players who are undergoing extensive training at Lahore under the supervision of bowling coach Mohammad Akram.

While Pakistan's players are training at home most of the top players around the world are in India featuring in the Indian Premier League. Gul, who was part of the first season of the IPL, rued the missed opportunity. "We miss IPL because we are deprived of sharing a dressing room with the best players in the world," said Gul. "Being a professional you learn a lot by sharing a bench with players like Hussey and many more. In fact, even our junior players should go out and play such leagues whether it is county cricket, Big Bash or IPL. It will make you more professional."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • siddhartha87 on May 15, 2014, 15:31 GMT

    Ajmal has one of the coolest head in world cricket. He should be a great captain in t20. I don't think it will wise to appoint Shehzad or Akmal and give them some additional pressure

  • farooq.ahmed.khan on May 15, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    shahid afridi and shoib malik will be better

  • CricketChat on May 15, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    I think Umar Akmal is the best choice for short formats, ODI and T20. He is still young enough, likely to play for another 10 yrs or so being one of the top 2 batsmen in the team. Hopefully, captaincy will bring in more measured approach to his sometimes wild methods which can only do good to him and his team.

  • on May 15, 2014, 2:52 GMT

    MALIK still best choice for captaincy , I. AFRIDI looking for 2015 ONEDAY captaincy WHY Afridi. IS. NOT INTRESTED in T20 format ? BECAUS he he old enough and t20 World Cup quiet for away , he wants to have one day captaincy in any cost

  • on May 14, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    Umar Akmal or Ahmad Shahzad should be better choice! one of them.

  • Mustafa7861 on May 14, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    Razzak needs to be captain, he can manage the team very well....

  • on May 14, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    Gul as captain! If u had been performing continuously, then it was a possibility. U were all places lately, straying and leaking fours and sixes. Learn to deserve first then desire, man!

  • ispaewbi on May 14, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    What happened to Afiridi being Captain? I thought it was pretty much given.

  • on May 14, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    LOL another one who wants to be captain. Pakistan is a team with most ex captains

  • kam_uk on May 14, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Agree with Karachikid - Gul is not captaincy material not sure if he is still international material! He needs to work on his fitness as the last few series have shown he is nowhere near his best. I often find that when our players make dubious press statements the opposite happens eg Afridi claiming Pak have the best T20 side etc. Incidently Afridi is also past his best but will the new selection committee have the balls to drop him?

  • siddhartha87 on May 15, 2014, 15:31 GMT

    Ajmal has one of the coolest head in world cricket. He should be a great captain in t20. I don't think it will wise to appoint Shehzad or Akmal and give them some additional pressure

  • farooq.ahmed.khan on May 15, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    shahid afridi and shoib malik will be better

  • CricketChat on May 15, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    I think Umar Akmal is the best choice for short formats, ODI and T20. He is still young enough, likely to play for another 10 yrs or so being one of the top 2 batsmen in the team. Hopefully, captaincy will bring in more measured approach to his sometimes wild methods which can only do good to him and his team.

  • on May 15, 2014, 2:52 GMT

    MALIK still best choice for captaincy , I. AFRIDI looking for 2015 ONEDAY captaincy WHY Afridi. IS. NOT INTRESTED in T20 format ? BECAUS he he old enough and t20 World Cup quiet for away , he wants to have one day captaincy in any cost

  • on May 14, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    Umar Akmal or Ahmad Shahzad should be better choice! one of them.

  • Mustafa7861 on May 14, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    Razzak needs to be captain, he can manage the team very well....

  • on May 14, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    Gul as captain! If u had been performing continuously, then it was a possibility. U were all places lately, straying and leaking fours and sixes. Learn to deserve first then desire, man!

  • ispaewbi on May 14, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    What happened to Afiridi being Captain? I thought it was pretty much given.

  • on May 14, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    LOL another one who wants to be captain. Pakistan is a team with most ex captains

  • kam_uk on May 14, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Agree with Karachikid - Gul is not captaincy material not sure if he is still international material! He needs to work on his fitness as the last few series have shown he is nowhere near his best. I often find that when our players make dubious press statements the opposite happens eg Afridi claiming Pak have the best T20 side etc. Incidently Afridi is also past his best but will the new selection committee have the balls to drop him?

  • KarachiKid on May 14, 2014, 12:07 GMT

    A captain needs to be intelligent, understand the game in detail, have mental strength, be a good leader of men. Umar Gul does not have any of these qualities. He may be a decent bowler with lethal yorker but even in bowling he suffers from selective amnesia when he totally forgets to bowl event a half decent yorker and delivers one "hit-me" delivery after the other. It is pathetic really that he consider himself capable of leading the team. There are others as well who should never be considered for captaincy, people like Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Umar Akmal etc. They can be good players but definitely not captaincy material.

  • on May 14, 2014, 10:50 GMT

    shahid afridi is better option, we have seen his leadership skills in 2010-2011

  • ziazai on May 14, 2014, 10:38 GMT

    vkias, posting same message twice doesn't strong Gul's captaincy case. I think Hafeez case of step down from captaincy is a very bad decision or he is told by forced to get down also not good. Class is permanant and form is temporaty everyone knows so is the case with Hafeez afterall he is a good captain but the only problem in him is why is he not opening.

  • on May 14, 2014, 10:28 GMT

    After few days saeed ajmal will also say he want to be captain but umar akmal deserve the captaincy

  • getsetgopk on May 14, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    I think he wants to be a Darren Sammy, the only way he got to the team was to be selected as captain, that way no one can drop him! Nice try Gul but no, you have to worry about your bowling. BTW he knows the end is near.

  • vkumar_086 on May 14, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    PCB should give captaincy to Gul....what a player he is!!!!!!! only second to Wasim Akram and Imran Khan!!!!!!

  • Nervewrecker on May 14, 2014, 9:01 GMT

    Gul interested in Pak captaincy. Well, of course, Mr. Gul, its all yours. Its Pak captaincy after all. History has it, everyone gets to taste it.

  • fkhawaja on May 14, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    Gul should be given a chance to captain pak in the shorter versions. if he does well than may be tests as well.

  • vkumar_086 on May 14, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    PCB should give captaincy to Gul....what a player he is!!!!!!! only second to Wasim Akram and Imran Khan!!!!!!

  • Wasim.Sattar on May 14, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Umar Gul should focus on his own performance rather than captaincy. After 11 years of experiance, he still unable to find the line and length while bowling. The match against West Indies in recent T20 World Cup is a prime example, wherein Pakistan started losing the game when he came to bowl.

  • anver777 on May 14, 2014, 6:21 GMT

    First thing first.... Let him establise first in the team, then talk about the captaincy !! Gul is not performing well in recent past and struggling for form, so better he concern about his place rather than captaincy.... Why not try Umar Akmal !!!

  • ziazai on May 14, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    Gul has shown his interested in captaincy, I am amazed with his interest. Since 2003 he is playing cricket but after 11 years he doesn't know how to bowl and he did not create consistency in his bowling. Sometimes he bowled as a worldclass bowler and sometimes as ameture. He should learn with Malinga's and others consistent bowling then he should think about captaincy. If Muhammad Amir or Muhammad Asif would have been playing then he wouldn't have chance in our team. He should grab the opportunity and should say Thanks to God that he is the part of team otherwise his line and length is very bad most of the times.

  • on May 14, 2014, 4:29 GMT

    I ll always get an all rounder as captain, Afridi reaching to end... and with lack of AL resources, i ll go with Shahzad as deputy to Boom Boom in T20 and Fawad deputy to Misbah in ODI to be groomed for future.

  • 11_Warrior on May 14, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Gul? captaincy? LOL. Get in to 11 first.

  • mshyder on May 14, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    Wow! wishful thinking by someone completely out of form and who has failed to deliver even one match winning performance in the last 2 years and apparently who has passed his prime. He has been the biggest disappointment as he was considered to be the Pakistan spear head after Shoaib Akhtar but never was able to achieve any major success apart from one T20 WC.

  • on May 14, 2014, 1:46 GMT

    i think pcb should give him a chance like malinga or may be prove better choice for pakistan like waseem

  • Saadcricketlover on May 13, 2014, 23:50 GMT

    Not a bad choice if he can regain fitness. If he can perfect his yorkers once again and be less run conceding why not. But first for his fitness sake he should retire from tests and odis. This will help him get better at t20 bowling and focus on captaincy. But it looks very unlikely by the dramas of our cricket board.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on May 13, 2014, 23:24 GMT

    Ahmed shahzad should be made T20 captain and odi vice captain this guy has the motivation and skills to be a great player for pakistan. i mean look at the amount of weight he lost since he made his debut! that shows determination.

    also in recent asia cup and t20 w/c, his frustration was clear when bowler like talha bowled loosely or fielders didn't put in 100%.

    he should be encouraged and giving him captaincy will make him more responsible and want to perform.

  • Mohammad_Imran on May 13, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    People who are bashing Umar Gul, please take a good look at the Pak bench strength in the bowling dept (or any other dept for that matter)! Besides Mohammad Irfan (and maybe Junaid Khan), there isn't a single reliable option! People say give chance to the new comers, well, we have seen how good they really are (Bilawal Bhatti, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Talha... ). The truth is a serious talent search needs to be conducted in Pak, even the good bowlers in Pak domestic setup will NOT be successful in international cricket.. they need to find real talent (the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram...). Really waiting for Mohammad Aamir to come back! Imagine, the two 'Mohammads' (Aamir and Irfan) opening bowling bowling combo will be the best in the world, no question! :)

  • on May 13, 2014, 20:32 GMT

    He is still a good bowler, but when it comes down to Captancy, well it's pressure absorbing position. When i look at Gul thrashed for a boundy on the first ball of an over, he hardly has the capacity to absorb pressure for remaining 5 balls of his own over. How on earth he can absorb pressure of 20 overs !!!!!

  • on May 13, 2014, 19:57 GMT

    he doest even have solid position in the team

  • fayyaz03 on May 13, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    I will love to see Ahmed Shahzad as captain. The guy has a fire in him for performing. Only man to score a T20I ton for Pakistan. Four out of his five ODI tons came on the away soils including one against the deadly South African bowling line up. And one in a chase of 320+ target in asia cup. Plus this man is young, energetic and aggressive (every quality that is required for a man to lead Pakistan Team)

  • Taimor-016 on May 13, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Honestly, Umar Gul should simply concentrate on his form (not fitness). He looked perfectly fit in his recent performances but he is lacking not just form but also confidence. I respect his services a lot because in last 5 years we only one consistent fast bowler. He was left alone by many fast bowlers in the past 5 years; Akhtar, Asif, Aamir, Naveed r few to name. Now, we have to really good fast bowlers, Junaid and Irfan. This is the time to improve his game. There are two more fast bowlers in the dug out, Bhatti and Anwar. Umar Gul simply needs to concentrate on his bowling and my hope is to see him soon bowling those heavy-crazy yorkers that once he used to bowl.

  • on May 13, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    If he can get a score of 7 in Ielts, why not. Lol

  • Herath-UK on May 13, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    Probably he got the wish after seeing Malinga doing wonders!

  • FSL2013 on May 13, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    Gul is unfit. His action is not the same it was use to be.

  • Stark62 on May 13, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    I wanted to finish by saying, he made his comeback during the SL series, played the Asia cup and the T20 WC, but still hasn't regained his form and that tells us, he is past it and should retire gracefully.

  • on May 13, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    I feel Ahmad Shahzad will be better choice for t20 captaincy! we should look forward now!

  • on May 13, 2014, 17:01 GMT

    A bowler and that to a fast bowler should not captain T20.

  • Farooq3 on May 13, 2014, 16:52 GMT

    A captain must be an automatic choice for the playing eleven which GULDOZER is not at the moment because of his current form!

  • on May 13, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    well regardless of who it will be, this drama should be seriously stopped by pcb.saying in media about captaincy. they shouldnt speak openly about it like this as pakistan's history is full of politics and when they will appoint new captain then people will start talking about groupings or this player doesnt support captain etc.

    regarding gul as captain, i think he 1st need to regain fitness and form. after his comeback, he is no way near the gul we all knew. and going by recent performances, i think his place in team is doubtful. secondly, next t20 world cup will be in 2016. pak will play 1 t20 this year and less than 10 next year. so need to look for long term solution. make young captain and play young players so that they can get these few games before next world cup. i would say even dont select ajmal, gul, hafeez afridi as well. they will be 36( except gul) by next world cup and more likely not playing. just handful of games lesft so give chance to any young captain & players.

  • Stark62 on May 13, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    Gul has become a huge liabilty and should retire from international cricket!!

    Can't deliver the yorkers anymore, doesn't have the pace and is struggling.

    For the people that say "He is returning from injury". He made is comeback in

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  • Stark62 on May 13, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    Gul has become a huge liabilty and should retire from international cricket!!

    Can't deliver the yorkers anymore, doesn't have the pace and is struggling.

    For the people that say "He is returning from injury". He made is comeback in

  • on May 13, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    well regardless of who it will be, this drama should be seriously stopped by pcb.saying in media about captaincy. they shouldnt speak openly about it like this as pakistan's history is full of politics and when they will appoint new captain then people will start talking about groupings or this player doesnt support captain etc.

    regarding gul as captain, i think he 1st need to regain fitness and form. after his comeback, he is no way near the gul we all knew. and going by recent performances, i think his place in team is doubtful. secondly, next t20 world cup will be in 2016. pak will play 1 t20 this year and less than 10 next year. so need to look for long term solution. make young captain and play young players so that they can get these few games before next world cup. i would say even dont select ajmal, gul, hafeez afridi as well. they will be 36( except gul) by next world cup and more likely not playing. just handful of games lesft so give chance to any young captain & players.

  • Farooq3 on May 13, 2014, 16:52 GMT

    A captain must be an automatic choice for the playing eleven which GULDOZER is not at the moment because of his current form!

  • on May 13, 2014, 17:01 GMT

    A bowler and that to a fast bowler should not captain T20.

  • on May 13, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    I feel Ahmad Shahzad will be better choice for t20 captaincy! we should look forward now!

  • Stark62 on May 13, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    I wanted to finish by saying, he made his comeback during the SL series, played the Asia cup and the T20 WC, but still hasn't regained his form and that tells us, he is past it and should retire gracefully.

  • FSL2013 on May 13, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    Gul is unfit. His action is not the same it was use to be.

  • Herath-UK on May 13, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    Probably he got the wish after seeing Malinga doing wonders!

  • on May 13, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    If he can get a score of 7 in Ielts, why not. Lol

  • Taimor-016 on May 13, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Honestly, Umar Gul should simply concentrate on his form (not fitness). He looked perfectly fit in his recent performances but he is lacking not just form but also confidence. I respect his services a lot because in last 5 years we only one consistent fast bowler. He was left alone by many fast bowlers in the past 5 years; Akhtar, Asif, Aamir, Naveed r few to name. Now, we have to really good fast bowlers, Junaid and Irfan. This is the time to improve his game. There are two more fast bowlers in the dug out, Bhatti and Anwar. Umar Gul simply needs to concentrate on his bowling and my hope is to see him soon bowling those heavy-crazy yorkers that once he used to bowl.