Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul has decided to hang up his boots in all forms of Cricket after playing 47 Test matches, 130 One Day Internationals, and 60 T20Is for his country in a 17-year long career.
Gul, 36, announced his decision yesterday after his domestic Cricket team, Balochistan, bowed out of the National T20 Cup after a defeat to Southern Punjab. He stated, “It has been an honour to represent my club, city, province and country at various levels for two decades. I have thoroughly enjoyed my cricket, which has taught me the values of hard work, respect, commitment and determination. During this journey, I have had the pleasure of meeting numerous people who have helped and supported me in some way. I want to thank all those people as well as my teammates and peers for their support.
“I owe a big thank you to the fans who supported me throughout my journey. They have been an inspiration, especially at times when the going was not great. Lastly, I thank my family for standing firmly behind me throughout my career and helping me to cherish my dreams of not only playing cricket but traveling across the country and globe.
“They have sacrificed a lot, while I too have missed their presence and company. I now look forward to spending valuable time with them but it will be difficult to stay away from cricket and I now look forward to giving back to the sport and the country that has made me one of the most fortunate people on the planet.”
Gul entered the Pakistan national team setup in 2003, at a time when they were reeling from the retirement of two of their greatest pacers of all time, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Having represented Pakistan in the U19 World Cup in 2002, Gul made his senior team debut in 2003 against Zimbabwe in a quadrangular ODI series in Sharjah also featuring Zimbabwe, Kenya and Sri Lanka. He then went on to make his Test debut in the same year against Bangladesh in Karachi.
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Gul was instrumental in Pakistan’s success at the first two T20 World Cups in 2007 and 2009, where they finished runners’ up and champions respectively. He was the highest wicket-taker with 13 wickets each in both tournaments. Gul bowled an incredible spell of fast bowling against New Zealand in the 2009 edition, where he finished with figures of 5 for 6 in 3 overs to leave the opposition in a daze.
Gul fought his way back into the ODI squad after having been overlooked for the 2015 World Cup. He last played international cricket in 2016, before continuing to represent his domestic team.