Being based in Australia as we are, it is sometimes difficult to reach out to cricketing superstars from the Northern Hemisphere.
Luckily for us, Umar Gul was able to find the time to speak with us.
Follow Umar Gul on twitter.
We thank Umar’s wife, Mariam, for assisting with the interview.
Thank her directly by following her on twitter.
We also thank all of you who sent in questions for Umar. Unfortunately on this occasion, we were unable to record the interview due to Umar’s busy schedule, but he did reply in writing to our questions.
Please keep recording your cricket questions so we can answer them on our show.
Umar Gul: Hi Dennis and Cat. Thank you for considering me for your interview. Always a pleasure interacting with my fans in Australia.
Can’t Bowl Can’t Throw: You are welcome Umar and thanks again for speaking with us.
You dismissed Sehwag in your second ever over in Test cricket, as well as Dravid and Sachin in your first ever spell that netted 5/31. Test cricket must have seemed easy at that point in time?
Gul: We were one down in the Test series against India being played in India. As you know, that’s always a pressure match for India and Pakistan. I got the chance to perform and I put in all my efforts to show my worth. I never thought Test cricket was easy, I just felt the heat of it and it boosted me to perform even better and to work harder to bring out the best in me in Test cricket.
CBCT: Umar, you are one of the tallest fast bowlers around. How tall are you? Did it shock you when you first met Mohammed Irfan?
Gul: I did not know I was one of the tallest bowler around. Haha, you are the first person I’m hearing that from 🙂
[CBCT – Umar Gul is 1.91cm tall]
Mohammed Irfan was a shock for sure haaha. He is a giant and I feel tiny in front of him 🙂
CBCT: Umar, you are the second highest wicket taker (74) in Twenty20 International cricket, only behind Saeed Ajmal. You are also the first player to ever take 5 wickets in a T20 innings (5/6 vs NZ).
How is T20 bowling different from Test cricket bowling?
Gul: T20 cricket is very different. A T20 bowler needs to be sharp. We don’t get time to sit and think and recover after a bad spell. We have to make sharp decisions and have lots of variation in the overs. That’s how it works.
Before I got into the cricketing world, I used to play out on the grounds and roads using tape balls. Those used to be limited over games and we had to think smart and be quick at making decisions. I think that has helped me more in the T20 format and now having played so many matches, I have groomed myself into a mainstream bowler for my country.
Test cricket and T20 cricket are two different formats all together. You have time to recover from a bad spell in Test matches but in T20 it’s like a do or die situation. You need to think smart and use variations to take wickets.
CBCT: Umar, you were once quoted as saying “whenever an Asian bowler performs and uses the reverse-swing, the Western cricketing countries raise the issue of ball-tampering against them.”
What caused you to make that stand?
Gul: To be honest, I don’t remember making those comments, although I had said that these days any bowler could use the reverse swing if he worked on it and thus criticising or making allegations against a nation would be completely absurd 🙂
CBCT: In December 2008, you signed with the Western Warriors to compete in the Australian domestic 2008-09 KFC Twenty20 Big Bash tournament.
You performed very well in his debut match for the Warriors, taking 4 wickets for 15 runs in a losing side.
Despite not being available for the entire tournament, you finished second top wicket-taker with 12 wickets. What do you remember most about Australia? What was the best thing about playing in Australia? Would you play again?
Gul: Playing in Australia is such a great experience. As a bowler one really enjoys on the bouncy pitches and then the crowd that comes in to cheer is just awesome. Always a pleasure.
I would love to play again if given the chance. It’s competitive cricket with lots of fun 🙂
CBCT: Would you play IPL is you were able?
Gul: IPL is fun cricket. It improves our skills and or character by interacting with so many world class players and it’s a financial boost as well, so yeah I would play if given a chance.
CBCT: Do you have a favourite IPL team?
Gul: Not really. I watch the matches and wait for the best team to win 😉
CBCT: Tell us about your highest Test score of 65* vs England.
Gul: Before the tour I had a lot of batting practice at the National Cricket Academy with my coach Mohtashim Rasheed and I had promised him that I would score a 50. He said it was due on me after so much practice. I had that at the back of my mind and stayed focused. When I scored the 65, I called him and thanked him for working hard with me. My team needed those runs and I was happy I got those 65 runs at a crucial moment.
CBCT: What are your favourite places in the world to play cricket?
Gul: Australia and England for sure. Always fun to play at these countries.
CBCT: Can you tell us what this is latest training camp you attended was all about about and what type of activity happens on a camp?
Gul: This camp is all about hard work and perseverance. We have a morning session from 7 to 9am where we have a gym workout phase. Our trainers work hard on our buildup and muscle strength. Then we have an evening session from 4:30 to 6:30 where we have different exercises for endurance, stamina and cardio workups. The last 10 days of the camp are for batting and bowling sessions. I think it’s the best way to keep us fit and groom our skills.
CBCT: Do you agree with Sarfraz Nawaz who said you now lack the stamina for long form cricket?
Gul: Every person has his own point of view and I respect all of them, but I think I still have the stamina and the class to play the longer format. When I think I have been worked out and lost the stamina, I will retire myself.
CBCT: What do you think Waqar Younis will bring to you as the new Pakistan Head Coach?
Gul: Waqar Younis has always been an inspiration. I have always looked up to him whenever I needed help. I think he is going to be of great help and he will surely bring about a change.
CBCT: You’ve had a few back, shoulder, hamstring injuries. What do you do to get yourself back on track after an injury?
Gul: I always think positive. Hardwork and positivity are two main things for any sportsman to get back on track. I work hard after any such injury. I strongly believe in prayers and at such times I make sure that I pray and ask God for a quick recovery 🙂
CBCT: Which cricketers are your inspiration?
Gul: Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis for sure 🙂
CBCT: What are your plans 10 years from now?
Gul: I still haven’t planned anything. I’m just focusing on my present but now that u have asked me, I think I should plan something 😉 Haha
CBCT: Thanks for speaking with us Umar. All the best
Gul: You’re welcome. Love the show!