Pakistan pacer Umar Gul has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket – signing off with 47 Tests, 130 ODIs and 60 T20Is to his name. The 36-year-old made the announcement on Friday, after his domestic side – Balochistan – were knocked out of the National T20 Cup by Southern Punjab.
“It has been an honour to represent my club, city, province and country at various levels for two decades,” Gul said. “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 made his way through age-group cricket and represented Pakistan in the U-19 World Cup in 2002. He walked into the senior team setup in 2003, a time when they were in a transitional phase with the exits of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis following a forgettable 50-over World Cup in South Africa.
Gul made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in Sharjah in April 2003 and went on to play Test cricket in the same year in August – against Bangladesh in Karachi. In 47 outings in the longest format, Gul picked up 163 wickets at an average of 34.06. In ODIs, he picked 179 wickets at an average of 29.34.
Gul’s propensity to accurately bowl the yorker made him an even more valuable asset in T20Is, where he picked 85 wickets at 16.97, a tally bettered only by four bowlers in the format – Lasith Malinga (107), Shahid Afridi (98), Shakib Al Hasan (92) and Rashid Khan (89).
He was instrumental in Pakistan’s success at the first two T20 WCs in 2007 and 2009, where they finished runners’ up and champions respectively. In 2007, he topped the bowling charts with 13 scalps, and then repeated the feat two years later with the same tally. In addition to that consistency, the repeated effort also involved an incredible spell of fast bowling against New Zealand, 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.
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