Umar Gul – Pakistan Cricket team’s lanky pacer was considered as one of the fastest right-hand bowler of all times, arguably among the very best right-arm bowlers; he had bid a tearful goodbye to all forms of International Cricket on last week after the end of the ongoing National T20 Cup, where he was playing for Balochistan and lost the match against southern Punjab at Rawalpindi, as their team didn’t make their feet for the semifinals.
Born on 14th of April 1984, the seamer played all three formats of the game as a right arm fast medium bowler for his team. He gained fame as one of the most successful bowlers in T20, ODI and Test cricket as the leading wicket taker. The 36 year old speedster played his last match for Pakistan – an ODI in 2016. “With a very heavy heart and after a lot of thinking, I have decided to bid farewell to all formats of cricket after this National T20 Cup,” Gul Tweeted.
The pacer was regarded as a leading wicket-taker at both 2007 and 2009 T20 world cup events, with 13 wickets in 7 games at an average of 11.92 and the triumphant in 2009 series, helping his team reach the title. The seamer picked up 13 wickets in seven games in both competitions, helping Pakistan to get into the final match in 2007 T20 series. Gul recorded stunning figures of 5 to 6 against New Zealand at the Oval during the 2009 tournament in England – a feat he matched against South Africa in a T20 at Centurion South Africa in 2013.
A veteran of International cricket, Gul in 2003 made his debut against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe respectively. His five wicket haul against a star-studded Indian batting line-up in Lahore during the 2004 series made him a star. The pacer was the fifth-highest wicket-taker (35 wickets in 24 games at an average of 17.25), which includes barely believable figures of 5-6 against New Zealand in 2009. Despite being a bowler, Umar was also a lower order batsman and a quick-run picker. I still remember one of the test matches against England in August 2010 when Pakistan were at 103 out of 7 wickets and Gul came into bat at number 8. He scored 29 off 30 deliveries. His career will not only be defined by the number of matches he played and the wickets he took, but also by upholding the spirit of the game. He was trying to do a furious attack in all forms of the game, whose love with cricket began on the crowded streets of his home town. With no crowds to bid farewell because of pandemic, he was given guard of honour from teammates and opponents after his final match in Rawalpindi. I wish him good luck for his future endeavors.