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Shabbir back for Shoaib and Gul
22 Jan 2007
By: Liam Camps

Shabbir Ahmed is set to return to the international fold following his 12-month ban for an illegal bowling action. The fast bowler has been called up to the Pakistan Test squad in South Africa, as injuries have forced Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul home.

Shabbir has not played Test cricket since 2005, when he competed against England at Multan. His ban was lifted in December of last year after a report by the University of Western Australia, where he underwent a series of tests.

Having played a crucial role in Pakistan's series-levelling win in the second Test against South Africa, Shoaib Akhtar returns home with a hamstring injury. Shoaib was a late call-up to the Test team, as cover for Gul who nursed an ankle injury. When Shoaib returned to the Test arena, he did so with a huge impact and took 4 wickets in 11 overs to help skittle South Africa for 124.

The impressive effort came at a decisive cost, however, and injury prevented him from bowling in the second innings and sees an end to his tour. According to an interim medical report, Shoaib will take at least 14 days to recover.

Like Gul, allrounder Shoaib Malik is suffering from an ankle injury and is yet to play a part in the series. He is doubtful for the third Test, starting January 26, but is expected to be fit for the one-day series.

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