There was a time when cricketers from Pakistan also rubbed shoulders in the Indian Premier League. The likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Salman Butt, Sohail Tanvir dominated the league. But since the international relations between these two countries turned sour, the government has not allowed Pakistani players to feature. Recently, former fast bowler Umar Gul recalled his time with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL.
Since its inception in 2008, IPL has been a melting point of cricketers from all across the globe. They forget all their international rivalries and rub shoulders in the high-profile T20 league.
IPL was like festival – Umar Gul
Recalling his days in India, Umar Gul admitted that it was like a festival playing in India. He was one of the best in the business in the late 2000s with his swingers and attracted the KKR owners. The right-arm fast bowler impressed in whatever opportunities came his way scalping 12 wickets from six matches.
“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.
“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,” Umar Gul said while speaking in a show CricCast.
Speaking further, Umar Gul also highlighted that after-match parties and photoshoots that went irrespective of the results of the game. He also admitted of learning a lot during his days in IPL sharing the dressing room with the greats of the game.
“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,” Gul added.