Pakistan pacer Umar Gul has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket with immediate effect. The announcement was made following the end of the National T20 Cup encounter between Balochistan and Southern Punjab. Balochistan lost to Southern Punjab and they could not secure a place in the play-offs. Following the end of the match, Umar Gul thanked everyone who had supported him in his near two-decade cricket journey and said that it was time to move on. “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. 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 said.
Gul made his way through age-group cricket and represented Pakistan in the U-19 World Cup in 2002. 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. Once considered one of the best Twenty20 International bowlers, Gul's tally of 85 wickets in T20s is 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 World Cups in 2007 and 2009, where they finished runners' up and champions respectively. In the 2009 World T20I, his 13 wickets made him the leading wicket-taker in that edition. His one spell of 5/6 from three overs against New Zealand was hailed as one of the spells of the tournament. His great performances in Twenty20s has seen him feature in an edition of the Indian Premier League, where he played one season in 2008 for the Kolkata Knight Riders. Gul ends his cricketing career of twenty years with 427 wickets across all formats playing 47 Tests, 130 ODIs and 60 T20Is.