Pakistan speedster Umar Gul retires from all forms of cricket

Fast bowler Umar Gul had made his debut in 2003. The right-arm pacer claimed 427 international wickets in a career close to two decades.

A jubilant Umar Gul after taking the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja during the India-Pakistan T20I in Bengaluru in 2012.   -  FILE PHOTO/K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul has announced retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday.

The 36-year-old officially declared his retirement after the National T20 Cup game against Southern Punjab in Rawalpindi. Gul represents Balochistan which lost the fixture by seven wickets.

Gul finished without a wicket for 34 runs in two overs. He was in tears while walking through the guard of honour.

Gul played 130 ODIs (for 179 wickets) and 47 Tests (for 163 wickets) for Pakistan. He arrived at a time when Pakistan was going through a transitional phase with Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis towards the fag end of their careers. He held on to the spot for his consistency and accuracy.

Gul was known for the lethal yorkers, toe-crushers and in-swinging block-hole deliveries.

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The speedster proved himself to be an all-format bowler as he rose through the inception of the T20Is. In 60 outings for Pakistan, he picked up 85 wickets at an economy of 7.19.

Gul was part of the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007 where Pakistan lost to India in the final. With 13 scalps, he was the highest wicket-taker of the tournament.

Two years later, he was once again the star bowler for Pakistan as it ended up winning the tournament. Gul finished with 13 wickets again. His performance against New Zealand (5/6) is still a talking point.

Gul also played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural Indian Premier League season in 2008. He was one of the better bowlers with 12 wickets in six games.

Umar Gul and Shoaib Akhtar.   -  FILE PHOTO/S. SUBRAMANIUM

 

Gul shared his thoughts on Twitter after the game. "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. I have always played for Pakistan with all my heart and 100 per cent hardwork. Cricket is and will always be my love and passion.

"But all good things have to come to an end. Praying that the future will hold much more for me. Secondly, I would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board and all the coaches and people who have been a part of my cricketing journey. Special thanks to media, my fans and followers who made it all worthwhile and supported me at all times. Thank you so much," he wrote.

All-rounder Shoaib Malik congratulated Gul for his long career. "What a career you have had #UmarGul loved every bit of playing with you," he wrote.

Gul's last international appearance came against England in 2016.

 

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