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'His behaviour has totally changed' - Umar Gul explains why Virat Kohli is his favourite Indian batsman

  • Umar Gul has named Virat Kohli as his favourite Indian batsman at the moment.
  • He also talked about his wonderful experience of playing in the inaugural season of the IPL.
Kartik Iyer
Modified 26 Jun 2020, 16:19 IST
Umar Gul was the highest wicket-taker at the 2007 T20 World Cup
Umar Gul was the highest wicket-taker at the 2007 T20 World Cup

Former Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul has revealed that his favourite Indian cricketer at the moment is Virat Kohli. He also named the batsman he disliked bowling to the most, and shared his experiences of playing in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Umar Gul spoke at length about his journey as an international cricketer and his experiences on the field in a freewheeling chat on the show Cric Cast.

On being asked which Indian player he likes the most, Umar Gul mentioned that it used to be Sachin Tendulkar but that his current favourite is Virat Kohli. The lanky pacer added that he enjoys watching the current Indian captain bat.

"It was Sachin Tendulkar but currently Virat Kohli. In the last 4-5 years, the way Virat Kohli has been performing, he is my favourite batsman. The way he has changed himself. His behaviour on the field when he started playing against us to now has totally changed. All his concentration now is on his performances. The way he plays, I enjoy watching his batting."

Umar Gul was further asked which batsman he enjoyed bowling against the most, to which he jokingly replied that it was the tail-enders.

"The most joy you get while bowling is when you bowl to tail-enders, because you can get them out."

On a more serious note, the right-arm pacer added that he always enjoyed bowling against the Indian, Australian and English batsmen.

"If you ask me honestly, I used to enjoy bowling against India, Australia and England, whether it was a top-order batsman or lower-order batsman."

Umar Gul also named Chris Gayle as the batsman he disliked bowling to the most, as he was always frightened of getting hit by his booming shots.

"The most dangerous batsman was Chris Gayle, not because I couldn't get him out or was afraid of getting hit, but I was scared of getting injured. Because he used to hit the ball so hard, especially straight down the ground. I still remember in the Lahore Test he smashed the ball straight back and I got hit very hard."

Umar Gul on his experience of playing in the IPL

Umar Gul played for KKR in the inaugural season of the IPL
Umar Gul played for KKR in the inaugural season of the IPL

Umar Gul also shared his experience of playing in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008.

"We enjoyed a lot. First time such a private league was happening. I remember I was the highest wicket-taker in the 2007 World Cup and I was picked almost at the end in the IPL. We were playing a home series against Bangladesh and Brendon McCullum smashed 150 in our first match. We were very excited."

Umar Gul mentioned that the Pakistan players had a great fan following in India and that the IPL was like a festival.

"Then we went to India. There are a lot of fans of Pakistani players in India. IPL was a totally different thing, it was like a festival. You play the match and then after the match there would be a program at the hotel."

He added that it was especially true for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), with its high-profile owners and the parties that were organised.

"That was especially the case with KKR, with Shahrukh Khan as the owner. Whether you won the match or lost, we used to have a photoshoot after the match for their brand and sponsors. And then we used to have team parties."

Umar Gul said that it was a great learning experience for him as he got to rub shoulders with some of the greats of the game like Ricky Ponting.

"It was a great experience. I got to learn a lot because I was still young and we got to share the dressing room with players like Ricky Ponting. It was great and it brought professionalism in us. We got to know how these legendary cricketers spend their lives."

Published 26 Jun 2020, 16:18 IST
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