Pakistan fast bowler, Umar Gul, says he is looking forward to the challenge of facing England in what promises to be a tough ODI series.
Gul has suffered the disappointment of being left out of the team, due to issues with both form and fitness, but is keen to prove his worth against a tricky opponent.
Gul told ‘The News’ on Sunday: “It’s a tough series because England are a very strong team but I’m confident and am looking forward to leading the attack from the front as the team’s senior bowler,
The quick's experience could prove invaluable in England, and he has spoken about his long battle to regain fitness after a knee injury that required an operation threatened to end his career back in 2013, and he was left out of the Pakistan team despite his belief that he was fit enough to play.
The paceman continued: “Failing to find a place in the national team, I was free in Pakistan. I knew that Pakistan were going on what is a long tour of England and felt that I might finally get a chance.
“I worked hard to keep myself prepared so that I was fit and in rhythm whenever the call-up came. I played in the Ramzan Cup in Karachi because no matter how much training you do, you have to play matches. I bowled with good rhythm and that gave me confidence that I will do well whenever I get a chance to play for Pakistan again.”
The seamer gets his chance at the expense of another injury prone quick, Mohammad Irfan, with Gul feeling the pressure to perform after being given another chance to play at the highest level.
Speaking after his return against Ireland, Gul said: “Yes, there was pressure.
"I was coming back after more than 15 months and as a senior bowler there were lot of expectations.
“But I was also confident and it helped as I bowled with good rhythm and played my part in the team’s win.”
Gul is hoping to carry confidence from his performance against Ireland, into the clashes with England, saying: “The way I bowled in the last match has added to my confidence and I am looking forward to giving my best against England,
“The team’s morale is high as we got a big boost after beating Ireland with such a big margin. If we play with the same zeal, I’m sure that we can achieve good results against England.”
The 32-year-old will take heart from previously having bowled well in England, adding: “I have bowled well in England in the past. Now as the senior I hope to take along the junior pacers and together we will hopefully play a big role in England.”