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October 18, 2020

Umar Gul calls on youth to focus on hard work

Sports

October 18, 2020

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul, who bids adieu to all types of professional cricket following the National T20 Cup, called on the youngsters not to look for shortcuts but to pursue excellence with hard work, persistent endeavors and wait for their turn and talent to get mature.

In an exclusive interview with ‘The News’ following his retirement, Umar said he always tried to work hard in an effort to make a name for himself during his early days.

It was in 2000 that Umar’s talent was spotted by the then chief selector Wasim Bari. Umar and Najaf Shah were rated as the best fast bowling talent. Both were selected to spearhead Pakistan attack in the Junior World Cup though Najaf couldn’t make it following an injury he received during the camp training.

In the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2002 in New Zealand, Umar claimed 11 wickets at an average of 12.72 following a poor debut 2000-21 seasons.

The lanky pacer played 47 Tests and has taken 163 wickets. In a 237-match international career from 2003 to 2016, Umar captured 427 wickets in all formats.

“I remember that when I was picked for the junior team I was over the moon and it turned out to be the start of my career. From there on I started working hard on my bowling, fitness and waited for my opportunity, rather than pursuing the shortcut. You have to prove yourself better than those who are already there playing for the country in order to create a space.

“That is why I would call on Pakistan youth not to expect glory straightway rather than make a consistent effort and wait for their opportunity. That is the best way to learn and master the art. The easy passage never makes you a solid player,” Umar said.

The pacer, who was given a resounding send-off by Balochistan and Southern Punjab players at the Pindi Stadium late Friday, said had great respect for all those who helped him, supported him, and boosted his morale to become an international player.

“I am proud that I have represented my country at the highest level and for that, besides my consistent hard work, I am thankful to all those who supported me. My family always stood by my side in thick and thin.”

Recounting his days of glory, Umar admitted that his spell against New Zealand in 2009 T20 World Cup where he picked five for six in three overs as one of his best. “That spell was important in many ways. Besides winning an important match for the country, I also became the first bowler ever to have taken five wickets in the T20 cricket. Besides that, there are many other spells at international level that carried their memories with me.”

The master of reverse swing and yorkers also thanked Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the immense support. “I am thankful to PCB for the support it has shown for me over the year. When injuries brought me down, the PCB helped me to recover, and when I recovered they provided me with equal opportunity.”

Umar advised all pacers not to lose hope when down by injuries. “A fast bowler should be ready to fight it out when down with an injury. No pacer in the world is without an injury scare. Instead of taking the injury on your mind, make effort to get fit and ready. Keep working on your fitness throughout your professional career.”

Umar Gul, who was usually known as Gulli by his teammates, offered his services for the game, saying he would be happy to contribute to the betterment of the game. “I would really be happy to serve in any capacity. My only aim is to serve the country and the game by sharing my experience.”