ISLAMABAD - Test discard fast bowler Umar Gul has hoped that he is fully fit and eager to earn back place in national squad.

Talking to The Nation, Gul said: “I am fully focused and training very hard in the nets and preparing myself for the coming Pakistan Cup. The international matches are also round the corner and I will ensure my performances and catch the eyes of the selectors to earn recall in the national team soon. Pakistan team is in dire need of a wicket-taking bowler upfront, as fast bowlers are not providing early breakthroughs, which I used to provide.”

He said that the World Cup squad is yet to be finalized and Pakistan Cup can help the national selectors to pick the best players for the mega event. “I am keen to deliver during the Pakistan Cup and want to prove that I am still not done yet and can bowl with lot of venom, pace and the toe-crusher yorkers, which can bamboozle any given batsman.

“A player’s job is always to work hard and leave the rest. If one look at my entire career, I have staged a lot of comebacks. When I was written off by pundits, I gave them befitting replies by coming back into national fold and cementing my place. The injuries hampered my progress in the past, but now I am fully fit and ready to spearhead bowling attack and provide Pakistan team more success, especially in ODIs against Australia and England,” he added.

Gul said that he was highly disappointed after being placed in gold category by PCB for the PSL-4 drafting. “None of the franchise considered me as I played in domestic one-days, four-days, National T20 and helped my department HBL become national champions in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and in National One-Day Cup. Despite helping Islamabad Region in the National T20 Cup and bowling with lot of pace and venom, my achievements weren’t considered for the PSL-4.”

The pacer also expressed his concern over prevailing situation of Islamabad cricket grounds saying Islamabad Regional Cricket Association (IRCA) has been doing marvelous job of providing the best cricket lot to the country but the MCI/CDA are trying to create issues for them and want to stop IRCA producing quality cricketers to the country.

“I have been playing cricket in Islamabad for last several years and I can easily claim that Islamabad grounds are one of the very bests in the country and are at par to any given international venue. The state-of-the-art Diamond Cricket Academy being run by Moeed Shaikh has not only equipped with latest facilities but also has bowling machine, which is rarely seen in any other ground. It is one of the only academies, which is fully equipped and not only providing cricket to the locals, but also to youth of far-flung areas.

“Being myself utilising the DCA facilities, I can claim that I have never witnessed such an academy, which is working on modern lines and inviting top class national and international players regularly to give tips to the academy players. It is prime duty of civic bodies to fully facilitate the associations and construct more quality grounds to ensure youth remain in playing fields rather than wasting their time and talent in unhealthy activities,: he added.

Gul urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of the alarming situation and issue directives in this regard. “The PM should strengthen IRCA hands so that it may work freely under its dynamic leader Shakil Shaikh and keep on producing quality cricketers for the country and providing the best facilities to the youth of twin cities as well as of far-flung areas. The PM’s timely action can save futures of many talents young cricketers,” he concluded.