April 14, 1984, Peshawar, North-Western Frontier Province
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
A fast bowler whose reputation has been forged in white-ball where the ability to bowl a pinpoint yorker which made him a key part of the Pakistan side which won the 2009 World T20 and a regular in one-day cricket until around 2012 when injuries started to take their toll. Omission from the 2015 World Cup suggested his career was fading, but he was recalled a year later.
Gul had played just nine first-class matches when called up for national duty in the wake of Pakistan's poor 2003 World Cup. On the flat tracks of Sharjah, Gul performed admirably, maintaining excellent discipline and getting appreciable outswing with the new ball.
He isn't express but bowls a very quick heavy ball and his exceptional control and ability to extract seam movement marks him out. His first big moment in his career came in the Lahore Test against India in 2003-04. Unfazed by a daunting batting line-up, Gul tore through the Indian top order, moving the ball both ways off the seam at a sharp pace. His 5 for 31 in the first innings gave Pakistan the early initiative which they drove home to win the Test.
Unfortunately, that was his last cricket of any kind for over a year as three stress fractures in his back were discovered immediately after the Test. The injury would have ended many an international career, but Gul returned, fitter and sharper than before in late 2005. He returned in a Pakistan shirt against India in the ODI series at home in February 2006 and in Sri Lanka showed further signs of rehabilitation by lasting both Tests but it was really the second half of 2006, where he fully came of age. Leading the attack against England and then the West Indies as Pakistan's main bowlers suffered injuries, Gul stood tall, finishing Pakistan's best bowler.
In 2009 he put together a strong period of wicket-taking in ODIs, on dead pitches in Tests (including a career-best six-wicket haul against Sri Lanka) and established himself as the world's best T20 bowler, coming on after the initial overs and firing in yorkers on demand.
He had hinted at that by being leading wicket-taker in the 2007 World T20; over the next two years he impressed wherever he went, in the IPL for the Kolkatta Knight Riders and in Australia's domestic T20 tournament. Confirmation came on the grandest stage: having poleaxed Australia in a T20I in Dubai with 4 for 8, he was the best bowler and leading wicket-taker as Pakistan won the second World T20 in England. The highlight was 5 for 6 against New Zealand, the highest quality exhibition of yorker bowling.
He remained a key part of the side for the 2011 World Cup where he was Pakistan's leading quick with 14 wickets but in his career dipped in 2013 due to a knee injury which forced him to undergo surgery in Australia. He was dropped from the squad same year from the Champions Trophy and his selection became more sporadic. By then his Test career had faded - his last match came in 2013 - but in 2016, at the age of 32, he was given a chance to resurrect his one-day place.
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