Home > Features >

India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2014: Umar Gul’s chance to go for the glory

Umar Gul's searing yorkers are difficult to cope with for any batsmen in world cricket © Getty Images
Umar Gul’s searing yorkers are difficult to cope with for any batsmen in world cricket © Getty Images

By Bharath Ramaraj

When India take on their arch rivals Pakistan in Asia Cup 2014, they would be up against a familiar face who has constantly played against them over the years in seamer, Umar Gul. The right-arm seamer, built like an edifice and known for bowling toe crushing yorkers at slithery speed and generating disconcerting bounce on his day is a vital cog in the Pakistan attack. With 121 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) under his belt, Pakistan would look up to him to steer the ship to safety when they find themselves in tatters. With the ever-reliable Gul by his side, Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain of Pakistan, needn’t have to depend on a prayer before every ball is bowled.

Unfortunately, the seamer has found himself more under the surgeon’s table than on a cricket field in recent months. It has been a tough road for the pacer to convalesce from a serious knee injury, but he has come through the fine lines of pain and depression and is now fully fit.  He had to even travel all the way to Australia for a surgery. As soon as he was declared fit, Pakistan selectors without blinking an eye lid picked him in the squad. It was surely Gul’s experience that helped him to get a recall. However, it won’t be easy for Gul to pen his mark in tomorrow’s game, as you need match fitness to find back your lost rhythm.

In the last game he played against Afghanistan, Gul bowled well in patches, but to bowl to Indian batsmen on feather-beds is a different story altogether. Interestingly, unlike his pace colleague and one of the brightest lights of Pakistan, Junaid Khan, Gul has struggled to keep Indian batsmen in check, over the years. He has taken 18 wickets at a rather costly average of 43.83.

Gul though, would reminisce fond memories of the last time he played against India. In 2012-13, Pakistan flagged down India in their own backyard to win the ODI series 2-1. Gul played his part by bowling incisively at Kolkata and scalping two wickets. On the other hand, he would like to forget Virat Kohli’s buccaneering innings against Pakistan in 2012 edition of Asia Cup that saw India march their way towards victory.

Gul has all the weapons to erase his poor record in tomorrow’s match. He can go for the coup de main by slipping in the yorker and if needed, hit back of a length and angle it into the right-handed batsman. In ODIs, those who angle it into the right-hander tend to do better than pacers who shape it away from a right-handed batsman. With him having that yorker up his sleeve, Gul can run through arch-rabbit tail-enders with ease.

It has to be said that to bowl searing yorkers, one needs to generate a decent burst of pace and should have the horsepower of a turbo-charged engine to gallop into the crease. A true pacer when he runs into the crease may feel like galloping on a railway track. It takes a lot of practice and hard work in the nets to bowl those deadly yorkers. It also has to be remembered that he is lively fast medium. When you aren’t someone who bowls at red-lightning speed, even losing a yard of pace can hurt.

So, after suffering from such a major injury can Gul continue to bowl at slithery speed? Can Gul erase his poor record against India and engineer a timeless composition by touching outer limits of well-defined boundaries? We can know the answer to everything when India take on Pakistan in the high octane clash at Fatullah on Sunday.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: The last great pace bowling all-rounder

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 4 at Southampton: Moeen Ali puts England in complete command

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Virat Kohli departs as India lose fourth wicket on Day 4 against England in 3rd Test at Southampton

England continue to make inroads as India lose Shikhar Dhawan on Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton

India steady after early blows against England on Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton

ICC to consider Ravindra Jadeja’s appeal in ‘pushgate’ incident to overturn fine

England make second breakthrough as Cheteshwar Pujara departs on Day 4 against India in 3rd Test

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: A symbol of genius encompassing almost two decades

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How the legend began

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: The last great pace bowling all-rounder

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Statistical comparison with other all-rounders

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Samsung Gear S is reportedly the company’s next smartwatch

England continue to make inroads as India lose Shikhar Dhawan on Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton

Hrithik Roshan clarifies about alimony dispute with Sussanne Khan!

Emraan Hashmi denies signing a film opposite South actor Sandra Amy!

Connected devices have huge security holes: Study

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: A symbol of genius encompassing almost two decades

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here