His unassuming, modest character makes him distinctly stand out by the fact that he is so overlooked. Especially being the bowling spearhead of Pakistan, which instantly makes you think of men like Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, the lethal '2Ws', and the faster than a speeding bullet Shaoib Ahktar. All symbolised by their breathtaking skill on the field that oozed of real charisma making all of them truly captivating in every respect.
Its hard for the big hearted Gul to gain any sort of recognition for his burgeoning excellence with the fans with his nondescript Clarke Kent type demeanour. Though the truth of him is that he has been a man that has contributed to Pakistan's recent rise in the game more than anyone outside of their Statesman like Captain Misbah ul Haq
His seamless transition to being the leader of the attack in the wake of the banning of the exceptional new ball duo of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir has been nothing short of remarkable. Especially in Test cricket where there was much doubt attached to his calibre, but on the challenge being thrown out to him to lead the attack this was his response
"I can handle the responsibility of leading the bowling attack for Pakistan and won't succumb to the pressure that comes with this added responsibility,"
Since accepting the responsibility the transformation of his figures has been nothing short of startling
2010:Tests Cricket: 8 Tests, 21 wickets, average 43.85
2011: Test Cricket: 8 Tests, 34 wickets, average 25.67
2010: ODI Cricket: 8 Games, 15 wickets, average 29.26, economy rate 6.25
2011: ODI Cricket: 23 Games, 28 wickets, average 26.17, economy rate 4.62
That is a drop off over 18 runs in his average in Test cricket and over 3 runs in his ODI average as well as cutting a third off the crucial economy rate in the shorter form of the game. Incredible rate of improvement since accepting a huge burden to carry the bowling unit on his shoulders. Which more than anything shows the substance and heart of the man.
It also displays his immense skill and dispels the myths of Gul that has people solely remarking on him for his awesome yorker in ODI/T20 cricket and nothing more. He has taken on the form of a real completeness as seen in these words
Today he cut the new ball this way and that, from just back of a length. The other day against New Zealand he chose to go fuller and swung it in and out. And whenever he has gone short he has cramped batsmen and made them uneasy.
The pace, as it was today and against New Zealand last week, is then consistently high, a real whiz to it, touching the early 90s (mph) and settled in the late 80s.
When you take into account that he bowls at real pace swinging the ball like he has it on a string as well as not only making it talk off the pitch with seam, but indeed compelling it to scream with how it cuts.
You see the lethal prospect that Umar Gul is to contend with for the Worlds batsmen.
Made even more lethal by the fact that his modest character means that he is often overlooked by the opposition.
Which is truly at their peril as his rise in the game of late has shown