Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez backed his ace paceman Umar Gul to finally come good as his side takes on South Africa in their first match of the Super Eights round.
Gul, who along with Sohail Tanvir has a had a torrid time in the tournament so far, has returned overall figures of 7-82-1 in the two games that he has played and looked completely out of rhythm.
Hafeez, however, believed Gul can handle the pressure and return to his best.
“We rely on our fast bowlers as well, but unfortunately they couldn’t do well in the group matches. But we are really confident that they will come out with some good performances. Umar Gul is one of them, always good with reverse swing. As a team, we’re really confident that our fast bowlers will contribute for the team. Gul himself is so experienced, has played so much cricket that he knows how to handle these things,” Wisden India quoted Hafeez as saying.
Former bowling coach Aaqib Javed suggested that Gul be used as a first-change bowler but according to Hafeez the bowler was aware of his shortcomings.
“He realises by himself if his basics aren’t working properly. The good thing is that he is very focused in practice sessions, working really hard. (Mohammad) Akram (the bowling coach) is doing a lot of work with him and the rest. We’re not worried about him because he is a match-winner. Anyone can have a bad day but his positive attitude is a good sign that he will get his rhythm back.”
Pakistan take on the Proteas on Friday before their much-awaited encounter with India on Sunday but Hafeez insisted his team was not even thinking about the game against India, the first T20 international between the arch-rivals since the 2007 World Twenty20 final.
“We take it match by match,” Hafeez added.
“Our immediate focus is on how we are going to tackle a strong side like South Africa. We will think about the others later.”