Umar Gul recalls how a dismissal by Irfan Pathan taught him the art of reverse swing

Umar Gul recalls how a dismissal by Irfan Pathan taught him the art of reverse swing

Gul was asked whether he learnt reverse swing from Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis.

Irfan Pathan and Umar Gul
Irfan Pathan and Umar Gul. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Umar Gul was one of the more promising talents coming out of Pakistan back in the early 2000s. Even though he played close to 50 Tests and 200 white-ball games, some may still think that he didn’t fulfill his potential. For the people who have watched him, he remains a smart operator with the ball and a very skillful player. 

One of his skills which have been well documented and talked about was his ability to generate reverse swing. During a recent interaction, Gul revealed how he learned about the reverse swing and its art. For a lot of Pakistan pacers, the inspiration has always been Waqar Younis or Wasim Akram, the two legends of pace bowling plus brilliant exponents of reverse swing. 

However, much to the surprise of many people, Gul revealed that he first came across and started understanding reverse swing after watching Irfan Pathan on his debut tour. Interestingly enough, he recalled that he had seen Pathan get Matthew Hayden bowled on a reverse swinging ball during that tour. 

Having done a quick fact check, it turned out that it was actually Adam Gilchrist who got bowled by that reverse swinging ball in Sydney. Pathan did get Hayden out on that tour but that was in Adelaide with a bright new ball, which was also the first Test wicket for the left-arm pacer. 

I watched that video several times and observed the seam position and shine of the ball: Umar Gul

“Honestly, I haven’t learned this art from Wasim (Akram) bhai or Waqar (Younis) bhai. If you remember, Wasim bhai used to work with ESPN when India toured Australia once. I remember seeing Irfan Pathan getting a ball to reverse and get Hayden bowled,” Gul said during an interview, whose clip was uploaded to Twitter. 

Gul further narrated that he kept watching the video of Pathan and eventually started learning more about how to deliver when there is reverse swing on offer.

“I watched that video several times and started taking notes of the seam position, shine of the ball. After this, I started having an idea how to deliver the ball to get it reversed. How to swing it in or swing it out. After that I started watching Waqar bhai’s and Wasim bhai’s videos to understand more,” Gul said. 

The dismissal which Gul was talking about: