Confident that he can improve on a rather average Test record while maintaining his fine form in the limited-overs game, Umar Gul is looking forward to leading Pakistan’s pace attack.
Thrust to the fast-bowling helm in the wake of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif’s spot-fixing bans and Shoaib Akhtar’s retirement. the right-armer has performed superbly across ODI and T20I cricket, but his performances in the five-day arena have been lacking.
With Mohammad Sami and Sohail Tanvir in and out of the picture, youngsters Junaid Khan and Sohail Khan rising through the ranks and in need of leadership and Tanvir Ahmed seeking a reliable seam partner, Gul is adamant he is the man for the job.
“I can handle the responsibility of leading the bowling attack for Pakistan and won’t succumb to the pressure that comes with this added responsibility,” Gul told Pakpassion.net.
“I feel I have performed well for Pakistan over the years and will continue to do so.”
While the 27-year-old Gul’s Test figures leave him with a substandard average in excess of 34, he has served his nation well in the shorter formats of the game – 134 wickets at 27 apiece in ODIs and 47 scalps in 34 Twenty20 Internationals. The medium-pacer, however, maintains there is more to his game than one-day superiority and that he will eventually become the complete package.
“In 20-over cricket the bowlers have more energy, the batsmen take more risks and therefore it’s easier to take wickets,” he added.
“Yes, no doubt in the past three or four years I’ve bowled well in the shorter formats of the game but I enjoy Test cricket and it’s only in the last 18 months where I haven’t had great results in Test cricket.
“But I’m working hard to improve my Test record and I am confident that I will succeed in that format also.”
Pakistan’s next assignment is a tour to Zimbabwe for a one-off Test, three one-dayers and a couple of T20Is in September. Gul, meanwhile, is enjoying a fruitful stint with Sussex in England’s premier domestic Twenty20 competition.
“The management team and the players at Sussex are very good. There is a very professional and positive approach and there is no such thing as a blame culture. It doesn’t matter if you have a good game or not, everyone backs each other and there is no criticism,” he concluded. Cricket365