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March 9, 2018

Fired-up Gul is not losing hope


March 9, 2018

DUBAI: Just when it seemed that a knee injury had squashed Umar Gul’s hopes of making an international comeback, the seasoned pacer came out with a career-best T20 spell to almost guide Multan Sultans to yet another HBL Pakistan Super League victory.

Gul, 33, picked up 6-24 but was unable to save the Sultans from suffering a two-wicket loss against Quetta Gladiators in a thrilling encounter on Wednesday night here at the Dubai International Stadium.

It was Gul’s first outing in PSL 3 and though he was pleased with his own showing, he expressed disappointment at the defeat.Gul, who is one of the most successful wicket-takers in T20 International history with 85 wickets, also that he is working hard in a bid to earn another recall for national duty.

“No door is closed to any of the players. All the selectors, all of the PCB say anyone who performs, who is fit … anyone can be called anytime, as per requirement, in whatever format,” he said.

“Therefore, in my mind, I know I have to keep myself fit and perform and bowl because whoever performs well gets the chance,” said Gul, last played for Pakistan back in 2016 in an ODI against England in Cardiff.

For the moment, however, Gul is even finding it difficult to earn a place in the Multan’s playing eleven.It was only because left-arm pacer Junaid Khan was dropped that Gul got his first chance in PSL 3.

And he didn’t disappoint.“I have been working hard. The team had a combination and it’s tough to come in when others are performing. But I was ready to give my best whenever needed. I have worked hard on my fitness. The two, three years that are left in me I want to give my best in them.”

Agencies add: Gul rolled back the years with a scintillating performance, becoming only the second player in PSL history - after Ravi Bopara - to take six wickets in a match. It began with the removal of the openers, and he returned to remove opposition captain Sarfraz with the first ball of his second spell, swinging the game back in his side’s favour. By the end of three overs, his figures read a mightily impressive 3-0-11-4.

His last over was the definition of a mixed bag, as the two sixes he conceded brought Quetta right back into the game, although the two wickets he took - taking his tally to six and his overall T20 tally to 200 wickets - seemed to have edged Multan back ahead. You’re unlikely to see a better bowling performance end up on the losing side all season.

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