‘Gul’s World Cup chances slim, Junaid’s progress encouraging’

Published December 27, 2014
Umar Gul (L) and Junaid Khan
Umar Gul (L) and Junaid Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan has revealed that veteran pace bowler Umar Gul may not be considered for the final World Cup squad, as he is yet to completely recovery from his knee problem.

Gul underwent an operation last year in Melbourne after suffering a recurrence of a knee injury.

“The reports about Gul are not very encouraging and there are very slim chances that he will be considered for the final World Cup squad,” Press Trust of India quoted Shaharyar as saying.

Right-armer Gul has struggled to touch top fitness and bowling form since completing the rehabilitation period after the knee surgery last year in May. He suffered a recurrence of the knee injury last year after being called up for the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka in the UAE and was not considered for the Tests.

Last month again he had to return home from the UAE after his knee problem relapsed during the one-day series against New Zealand.

“Gul had also been playing in domestic cricket this season and had bowled a number of overs but for some reason as soon as he was inducted for international cricket, he faced fitness problems,” Shaharyar stated.

Gul, who has appeared in 47 Tests and 125 ODIs for Pakistan, has been the national team’s most potent pacer in recent years before he suffered the knee injury.

PCB chief, meanwhile, said the fitness reports of left-arm pacer Junaid Khan were very encouraging and he apparently regained 90 per cent fitness after injuring his knee during the ODI series against Australia in October.

Junaid has also been named to lead the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa team in the Pentanglar one-day cup starting in Karachi on Dec 31.

According to Shaharyar, the selection of suspended off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez in the final World Cup squad will depend on clearing the informal tests at the bowling centre in Chennai this week.

“If they [Ajmal and Hafeez] clear the informal tests, they will be sent immediately for the ICC official tests to get their bowling actions cleared,” he said.

The PCB chief made it clear that the selectors had been given a clear guideline to only select players who would be 100 per cent fit before the start of the World Cup.

“No gamble will be taken with any player who does not attain peak fitness,” the PCB chairman said.—Agencies

Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2014

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