Fast bowler Umar Gul has announced he will be retiring from all forms of cricket after a 20-year professional career as his side, Balochistan, failed to qualify for the National T20 Cup semifinals.
In a statement late night on Friday, he said that he had made the decision with a “heavy heart and after a lot of thinking”.
“I have always played for Pakistan with all my heart and 100 per cent hard work. Cricket is and will always be my love and passion. But all good things have to come to an end.”
In a separate statement carried on the PCB’s website, Gul said it had been an honour to represent his club, city, province and country at various levels for two decades.
“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 team mates and peers for their support.
“I owe a big thanks to the fans who supported me throughout my journey. They have been an inspiration, especially at times when things were not so great.”
He said that he was now looking forward to spending valuable time with his family, adding that it would be difficult to stay away from the game.
“I now look forward to giving back to the sport and the country that has made me one of the most fortunate and luckiest people on the planet.”
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said that Gul is highly respected, both as a person and as a cricketer.
“His career will not only be defined by the number of matches he played and the wickets he took, but also by upholding the spirit of the game every time he put on the shirt for his club, city, province and country.
“I have attended a couple of PCB cricket committee meetings with Gul and he is a thorough gentleman with an intelligent cricket head on his shoulders and a sound knowledge and understanding of the game,” Khan said, adding that the board wished him well for his future endeavours.
The 36-year-old Gul burst into the circuit in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2002 in New Zealand by claiming 11 wickets at 12.72 following a poor debut 2000-1 season.
The lanky pacer played 125 first-class, 213 List-A and 167 T20 matches, in which he collected 987 wickets. In a 237-match international career from 2003 to 2016, he captured 427 wickets.
Gul played professional cricket in Australia, England, India and Sri Lanka, representing Western Australia, Gloucestershire, Sussex, Kolkata Knight Riders and Uva Next, respectively, while his domestic sides were HBL, Multan Sultans, North West Frontier Province (now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), PIA, Peshawar and Quetta Gladiators.
Meanwhile, reactions from several current and former starts of the game poured in along with tributes to Gul and his contributions to the game.