Pakistan pace bowler Umar Gul has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket at the age of 36. From 47 Test matches, Gul took 163 wickets at an average of 34.06. He also claimed 179 wickets from 130 ODIs, besides 85 wickets from 60 T20Is. He also took 427 wickets across all three formats for Pakistan and was the leading wicket taker in both the 2007 and 2009 T20 World Cups.
The announcement came after Balochistan, his team in Pakistan’s National T20 Cup, were eliminated from the competition. He was given a guard of honour by his teammates and the Southern Pujab players. After the game, a visibly emotional Gul thanked his family, coaches and team-mates throughout his career, and was given a guard of honour by both sets of players.
“It has been an honour to represent my club, city, province and country at various levels for two decades,” Gul said after the game. “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.”
Gul took 987 professional wickets – 479 in first-class matches, 286 in List A cricket and 222 in T20 cricket. He 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.
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. He was a regular member of the national team until a knee injury surfaced in 2012.
“I want to thank all those people as well as my teammates and peers for their support.,” he added. “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.” Gul hadn’t been centrally contracted since and was also left out of the 2015 World Cup squad.
“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,” Gul said. I now look forward to spending valuable time with them…”
“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.” He last played international cricket in 2016, before continuing to represent his domestic team.
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