Umar Gul warns his best is yet to come KARACHI: Recalled paceman Umar Gul is hopeful of Pakistan improving their ICC One-day International (ODI) rankings to avoid playing qualifiers of the 2019 World Cup, while saying his best is yet to come.
The 32-year-old, who has returned to the one-day squad after a 16-month hiatus for the forthcoming series in Ireland and England, said Pakistan will put up strong performances to move up from their current ninth ranking.
“I’m pretty sure we will improve our ranking before the cut-off date. We have very good players and just need a little improvisation in our style of play to win matches regularly,” Umar told Dawn exclusively before leaving for London. “I know we will bounce back just like we have done in the Test series. It’s matter of self-belief and if the team get it then anything can happen [in the coming England one-dayers] because we are capable of winning as much as the rival side.
“We must be on guard because England are a very good ODI side and one of the best teams especially on their home grounds. It’s going to be a challenge for us but we are no less, we have that power to overcome any side at any place.”
On his return to the side after more than a year, Umar said it was the sheer hard work he put in which convinced selectors.
“I have been working really hard after being dropped in April last year. The only thing that came to my mind was that I had to be at the peak of fitness and form to get noticed [by the selectors] in order to make a comeback,” he remarked. “I have been performing at the domestic level and also was man-of-the-series in a Ramadan Cup this year. Once the fitness was assessed at the short camp in Lahore, the selectors picked me for the ODI series.”
When asked if he regretted at being harsh at the selectors for overlooking him despite performing consistently since the Bangladesh tour in 2015, Umar clarified that he was making a point.
“Every player develops frustration especially when you do well at domestic level and still gets ignored. I spoke to Dawn [in late June] about the previous selectors’ mistrust and mismanagement. I even spoke about the current ones but only in regard to the army fitness camp where I thought I should have been given a chance and assessed,” Umar stressed. “But I’m glad that it is behind now because when I played in Karachi during Ramazan, I felt confident because I got my rhythm back. I’m sure it did play a part in my selection as well.”
Umar, who has taken 173 wickets in 126 ODIs, said he was looking forward to the upcoming matches after doing well on the last tour in 2010 and warned England his best is yet to come.
“It was great feeling back then, picking up 12 wickets [at 21.25] while also retuning the best figures of my career [6-42]. It’s always great to play in England,” Umar recalled. “I do rate it as the best series but I still think my best is yet to come because when I look back at the good days I had during my career, it makes me feel very happy because I want to make Pakistan proud.
“Being in Pakistan colours is the best motivation one can get. There are a lot of moments in my career that I cherish, especially the 2009 World Twenty20 when Pakistan won the title.”