Injured Gul flies home

Already trailing India 1-0 in the ongoing Test series, Pakistan have had their woes compounded with an ever expanding injury list. The latest casualty is Umar Gul, who is due to fly home from the tour.

Gul missed the first Test with a back strain and will now take no further part in the series. This development casts Pakistan’s bowling attack into great uncertainty, as fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami are presently struggling with chest infections and captain Shoaib Malik is suffering with a sore ankle.

Of the bowling lineup from the first Test, only legspinner Danish Kaneria and left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir remain fit. However, batsman Misbah-ul-Haq is close to recovery from the flu that he suffered with during the first Test. Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman is therefore almost certain to play, and allrounder Yasir Arafat has been called up to the squad as a replacement for Gul.

Arafat has played 7 one-day internationals and 4 Twenty20 internationals, but has never played a Test match for Pakistan. But his impressive first class record – 520 wickets at 22.43 and batting average of 27.11 – is now likely to be tested as Pakistan searches to level the series.

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