ICL: Indian Cricket League


Pakistan look towards Gul to deliver in Dhaka

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Pakistan are hoping that the last-minute withdrawal of disgraced paceman Mohammad Asif will not affect their team’s title chances in a tri-nation tournament getting underway in Dhaka from Sunday, writes Khalid Hussain.

National cricket officials are now looking towards Umar Gul — the most experienced pacer available for national duty — to guide a young yet potent pace attack in Bangladesh where Pakistan are expected to face old rivals India in the clash for the title.

“Asif’s ouster is certainly a setback for us,” chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed told ‘The News’ on Wednesday. “But we still have some very talented fast bowlers and hope that somebody like Umar Gul will step forward and shoulder the responsibility of spearheading our pace attack in Dhaka,” he added.

Asif was dropped from the 16-man Pakistan squad as he is being detained by Dubai Police after an illegal substance was recovered from his wallet on Sunday. Rookie Karachi paceman Sohail Khan was included included in the touring party in placed of Asif. Sohail, 24, made his international debut at home against Zimbabwe earlier this year.

Pakistan’s pace attack is also without their fastest bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who is currently battling to get a five-year ban overturned. Mohammad Sami was also not considered as he has been blacklisted over his connection with the breakaway Indian Cricket League.

Now Gul, 24, heads the pace battery that includes Sohail Tanvir, Rao Iftikhar Anjum and youngsters Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan.

Gul has played 16 Tests, picking up 67 wickets and also has 55 ODI scalps from 43 appearances.

“Gul has time and again proved himself to be a wicket-taking bowler and I’m sure he will respond to the challenge,” said Salahuddin, a former Test cricketer.

He is also expecting a lot from Sohail Tanvir, who was recently crowned as the most successful player of the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) season. “Sohail showed he can be really destructive and we hope that he would retain his form in Bangladesh.”

Officials also have great expectations from young Turks Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan, who were impressive in low-key games against Bangladesh in April this year.

Pakistan’s Dhaka-bound squad will assemble in Karachi today to have a practice session before flying out for the Bangladesh capital tomorrow morning.
Source:Cricket News

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