Gul desperate to beat India

Umar Gul toils hard Associated Press

Fast bowler Umar Gul has said that Pakistan are desperate to beat India in the upcoming Champions Trophy fixture. Pakistan are grouped with Australia, West Indies and India, and the two teams face off on September 26 in Centurion.

"While every match will be important, the game against India, as always, will be special for both the sides," Gul said. "No rivalry can match the India-Pakistan rivalry and I think the match will be something billions of people all over the world will be waiting for.

"For us, the match is also important for the simple fact that we haven't beaten them in an ICC event and we're desperate to break that sequence [Pakistan have actually beaten India in the 2004 Champions Trophy]," he said.

Gul said that being World Twenty20 champions adds pressure due to increased fans' expectations.

"Although it is a different format, it is always good to go in as a champion side because it gives you that extra confidence which is vital in big tournaments," he said. "However, our victory in England has raised the bar of expectations and our supporters want us to win everything. That puts us under more pressure."

Pakistan have included the promising Umar Akmal in the squad, and the tournament will also mark the comeback of fast bowler Mohammad Asif. Gul feels the side is well balanced, with the return of experienced ICL players like Mohammad Yousuf and Rana Naved. "I believe we have an excellent team for one-day cricket and it is the combination that makes us a quality side. The return of Mohammad Yousuf and Rana Naved has provided further impetus to the side which is bubbling with confidence after its victory in the ICC World Twenty20 in England in June."

Gul said he was looking forward to leading the bowling attack. "I'm ready to take the spearhead's role and the requirement of that role is to try to come up to expectations whenever the ball is tossed at you," he said.

"There's no greater feeling than to contribute in the success of your side. After the victory in England, the side is hungry for more successes and I'm desperate to contribute more to those successes."