Bari hopes Pakistan will take sensible decision over Gul

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Pakistan’s chief selector Wasim Bari expressed fears that the expected return of injured medium pacer Umar Gul in the second Test against South Africa next week might backfire.

“I hope they (Pakistan team management) would take a sensible decision on Gul otherwise we might suffer,” Bari told this correspondent in an interview on Tuesday.

Bari hoped that Pakistan would not rush in the talented Gul, who is seen among the key Pakistani players for March’s World Cup in the West Indies.

Gul, Pakistan’s most successful fast bowler in 2006, missed the opening Test at Centurion because of an ankle injury. Pakistan went on to lose the Test by seven-wickets earlier this week.

Initial medical reports suggested that the injury would keep Gul out of international action for least three weeks. However, reports coming from South Africa on Tuesday signal towards Gul’s return for the next Test scheduled to get underway from January 19 in Port Elizabeth.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq in a recent statement said that Gul has recovered and is expected to play in the second Test.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official also confirmed that Gul is likely to get an all-clear to return to the line-up in Port Elizabeth where the tourists would be looking forward to level the three-match series.

However, Bari said that Pakistan might be acting too hastily by forcing Gul to make an early comeback.

“I’m afraid that if Gul is brought back hastily he might aggravate his injury and could be out for a long time. It happened last year when Rana Naved was forced to play by his county in spite of an injury and he was out for quite a few months,” said Bari referring to the injury-related absence of medium pacer Naved-ul-Hasan, who missed several matches in 2006 because of a groin injury he sustained while playing for Sussex in the county season.

The former Test cricketer, however, hoped that the team management would take the right decision in Gul’s case.

“I hope better sense would prevail because with the World Cup just round the corner we cannot afford to make any mistakes,” he said.

Meanwhile, a PCB spokesman played down any such fears saying that all of Pakistan’s leading bowlers would be available for the second Test.

“We have received positive reports on our bowling attack and we expect that Pakistan would take the field in Port Elizabeth with all their first choice bowlers,” he said.

He added that fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has also been declared match fit and is all set to bowl in the second Test.

The spokesman said that star batsman Mohammad Yousuf has joined the national team and would boost its batting in the crucial Test.

Yousuf, who had a record-breaking run-spree in 2006, missed the opening Test because of his wife’s surgery.
Source:The News

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