Karachi: Experienced pacer Umar Gul feels Pakistan needs to overhaul its domestic structure on the same lines as India in order to become a top ranking team in all formats and also enhance the financial condition of its players who don’t make the national team.
Gul, 31, who has been struggling with a knee problem despite having undergone a knee surgery in 2013, believes that Indian cricket had improved because of its stable domestic system and the Indian Premier League. The fast bowler, who has taken 163 wickets in 47 tests and another 173 in 126 One-day internationals, urged the Pakistan Cricket Board to follow India’s example.
“India is producing top batsmen because they have consistent pitches for domestic matches which are suited for batting and their players gain in batting confidence. In Pakistan the pitches vary a lot and this dents the progress of younger players,” he said. He also noted that in Pakistan domestic cricket there were other problems like it didn’t have an advanced schedule like in other countries and the brand of balls was also changed frequently in domestic cricket.
“The Indian domestic players are now earning a lot more compared to our players only because of the Indian Premier League. That is why no Indian plays in any other league they don’t need too,” he noted. He said unfortunately in Pakistan the players because they don’t earn that much in domestic cricket are forced to accept small contracts to play in England every year. “I know players who also do other work to earn extra money in England to support their families. Once they earn enough because of the PCB super league they wouldn’t need to go anywhere else to earn money and they can program their careers accordingly,” Gul said.
Gul, who has been ignored by Pakistani selectors since last playing in a T20 series in Bangladesh in April, said that the IPL had proven to be a big boost for Indian cricket. “The IPL has not only boosted the earnings of Indian domestic players but also provided them the chance to share dressing rooms with the top players, learn from the best coaches in the world and also improve their cricket skills quickly.” Gul, who was speaking on Geo Super channel, urged the Pakistan cricket authorities to also launch its Super League T20 competition early next year on schedule after its launch was postponed twice since 2012.
“I am sure once our super league is launched it will allow our domestic players to earn more and also give them an opportunity to learn from international players and coaches and to test their skills side by side with the best in the business,” he said. Gul said it was unfortunate that Pakistani players had been deprived of the chance to benefit and earn from the IPL since 2008 which is why it was imperative for the Pakistan board to also launch its own league.
“Many of us played in the inaugural IPL and it was a great experience because Pakistani players have a lot of following in India and when I was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders I didn’t feel like an outsider and it was a great learning experience unfortunately after that we didn’t get the chance to play again in IPL,” he said. The top wicket taker in T20 internationals said he didn’t consider his international career to be over despite his fitness issues. Now I am working hard with a personal trainer to be back to my best and I am targeting the series against England and India later this year.
Gul, who remained Pakistans top bowler for years, also said he would love to play a full series against India later in the year as planned by the Pakistan cricket board. Playing against India is always special and it brings out the best in you. A series against India can make your career or break it that is how important an Indo-Pak series is for the players in both countries.” “I consider myself lucky to have played quite a bit against India including back to back series and it helped my career as a international bowler because I learnt a lot playing against top batsmen and how to cope with the pressure that comes against India.”
He said it was unfortunate that some of Pakistan`s younger lot not only had to face the misfortunate of not being able to play in their own country but also limited number of matches against India. “It has hurt their development as international players,” he said.