Former Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul advised the Pakistan squad to listen to the criticism positively and respond on the cricket field. He also suggested that the players should be backed now that the selections have been made for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
There was heavy criticism surrounding Pakistan Cricket after the selectors announced the 15-man squad for the ICC event. A few notable names were missing while players like Asif Ali and Azam Khan who have performed poorly were chosen. Umar Gul came to the defence of the players and reckoned they should be backed as part of a long-term plan.
“No doubt that the [T20 World Cup] squad has been criticised a lot since it was announced. I think we should criticise the squad but don’t mention the names of players because our cricket is going through a difficult phase after the cancellation of New Zealand and England’s tours of Pakistan. It’s time to back the players rather than demoralize them.”
“Players should also take this criticism positively rather than getting pressurized. I also did the same, when I faced such a situation during the course of my career, and tried to answer my critics through my performance on the field. The ongoing National T20 Cup is also a good chance for the players to regain their confidence,” Gul said.
Umar Gul’s suggestion to the Pakistan team ahead of their clash against India
Babar Azam and co. will begin their quest to win a second T20 World Cup title with a match against arch-rivals, India, on October 24. Ahead of the crunch game, a lot of pressure has been put by the Pakistan board and ex-players. They want the team to do something that no Pakistan team has done before – defeat India in a World Cup.
“There is extra pressure of the India match as the entire nation wants you to beat them. My suggestion is that players should control their nerves and don’t crumble under pressure as it’s a high-voltage match. I would also advise that, two to three days before, especially around the India match, the players should avoid social and conventional media,” Gul added.
Gul believes that India has a very strong team with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli leading the way at the top. However, he was also confident that the Pakistan bowlers have what it takes to put up a fight against their rivals.
“Pakistan’s bowling is very strong. Hasan Ali has been in great form since his comeback and Shaheen Shah is also in good rhythm. We also have good spinners, bearing in mind the conditions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I have a lot of expectations from our bowlers,” he concluded.
Pakistan will be up against the odds in the tournament. They are grouped alongside India, New Zealand, and Afghanistan along with two more qualifiers. The T20 World Cup begins on October 17 in Oman.