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Gul to target Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir

Last updated on: March 28, 2011 15:44 IST
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'I am looking to target Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir'

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Bikash Mohapatra in Mohali

He has taken over the role of being Pakistan's bowling spearhead in the World Cup.

And with 14 wickets (in seven matches) so far he has delivered, playing a crucial role in his side's progression in the tournament.

Come Wednesday though, Umar Gul will have arguably the toughest test of his career when Pakistan takes on co-hosts and favourites India in the semi-final at the PCA stadium in Mohali.

The match being an all-important clash, with nothing less than a berth in the final at stake, Pakistan will expect Gul to deliver with the ball yet again.

To his credit though, the 27-year-old is looking up to the challenge ahead, having already identified his prime targets.

"Definitely the first three wickets -- Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir -- will be crucial," said Gul categorically.

"They (Team India) are a lot dependent on them. So I am looking forward to target those three batsmen," he added.


Image: Umar Gul bowls in the nets in Mohali on Monday
Photographs: Getty Images
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'I am in peak form now and I hope to do well against India'

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The bowler is confident of putting up a good show against India.

"I am in peak form now, I am feeling very good at the moment and I hope to do well against India," said Gul.

The 27-year-old admitted he was aware that batting was India's strength but said his team had the bowling firepower to counter the same.

"Their batting line-up is strong no doubt," said Gul, adding, "But our bowlers are also in form.

"Shahid (Afridi) is the highest wicket-taker in the tournament, so we have got an advantage in the bowling department so to speak."

There have been reports doing the rounds that Pakistan might just field Shoaib Akhtar -- in place of Wahab Riaz -- keeping in mind the Indian frailties against fast bowling.


Image: Umar Gul during a practice session
Photographs: Getty Images
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'We want to change what has happened till now'

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Asked about the same, Gul was forthcoming without being exact.

"If Shoaib plays it is good for me as he is the most experienced bowler in this side and has always done well against India," said Gul.

"It will reduce the pressure on me to a considerable extent," he added.

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The neighbours have come face-to-face on four prior occasions in the World Cup and Pakistan has been on the receiving end each of those time.

"The only thing that concerns us is to play good cricket and change what has not happened till now and win the semi-final match," explained Gul.

"And it's a good chance for us since both our bowler and batsmen are in good form. We'll try to set the record straight this time," he added.


Image: Umar Gul
Photographs: Getty Images
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