England v Pakistan, 4th npower Test, Lord's August 24, 2010

Umar Gul winning fitness race

37

Umar Gul, who suffered a stiff hamstring during the second Test at Edgbaston, has recovered completely from the injury and is likely to be available for selection for the final Test of the England series, which begins on Thursday at Lord's.

"We can't say anything for certain but we are hopeful," Salman Butt, the Pakistan captain said. It was feared that Gul would take no further part in the Test series when he first picked up the injury but Gul, who is Pakistan's most experience fast bowler, has been working hard with Dale Nyler, the team physio, and trainer David Dwyer, to bounce back.

While his team-mates were scripting Pakistan's remarkable victory in the third Test, Gul was on the sidelines where he bowled 'no-effort' balls which involved him charging in from a full run-up and going through the remainder of his action before finishing the sequence without delivering the ball. The exercise was essential to determine if the injury was healing fast.

"So far his recovery has gone as desired," Dwyer said. But both him and Nyler will have a final look on Wednesday morning before giving their final assessment on Gul's fitness to the team management which will sit in the evening to pick the playing eleven.

For the last two days Gul has progressed to bowling flat out without any cause for concern. At the indoor training centre at Lord's he bowled marathon spells of nearly 90 minutes and was happily sharing tips with Wahab Riaz, the man who replaced him in the previous Test.

Gul's recovery is good news for Pakistan, who are spoilt with riches in the bowling department. At The Oval last week, Riaz, the left-handed quick, made a memorable debut by claiming 5 for 63 on the first day to help set up Pakistan's four-wicket victory. Riaz earned further points on the second morning when he offered stubborn resistance with the bat. His 27 logged over a two hours, and he stitched a 34-run partnership with Mohammad Yousuf for the third wicket to rob England of the chance of putting pressure on the Pakistan middle-order.

Gul won't be worried about the competition. At Trent Bridge he top scored with 65 in addition to a match haul of 4 for 102. At Edgbaston he was forced off the field after bowling nine wicketless overs in the first innings but batted with a runner to bolster Pakistan's lead with a 27-run stand with Mohammad Asif for the last wicket.

Gul will have fond memories of playing at Lord's, after performing well there against Australia earlier in the year. He was on the verge of a hat-trick during Australia's second innings and finished the match with five wickets. Waqar Younis, Pakistan's coach, was positive about Gul but remained non-committal about his availability for the final Test: "We will have to see tomorrow and then decide."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • KHURRAM_RAJA on August 26, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    i think umar gul should not play test cricket, he is better in ODIs and best in T20s

  • Dutch_Pakii_Samia on August 25, 2010, 14:33 GMT

    Wahab Riaz ore umar gul it doesnt matter both are good!

  • on August 25, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Umar Gul should be given chance as we need to win this test to level the test series and we have already lost two tests in the row and cant take any chances of loosing another one.

  • on August 25, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    Wahab is aggressive but gul has experience... if the wicket has some juice in it stick with wahab but if the wicket requires some experience of line and length and it is flat play gul

  • Pak-cricket on August 25, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    No doubt Umar Gul is a good bowler... But I would love to see the same team as 3rd test for Lords.. Umer Gul should be included in T20 and onedayers later in september..Lords will give one more chance to Wahab and Yasir to show how talented they are and prove thier captain and manaegent wrong by not picking them in the first 4 test this summer

  • on August 25, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    Give Gul a rest. He will be used as a strike bowler during the T20's, so give Gul a rest here and give Aamer and Asif a rest during some of the limited over games.

  • on August 25, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    i don't think so there is any need to replace wahab,,since he bowled really well in Oval .. so there is no need to bring umer gul back to team. Although we cant ignore him but as the says ''Better to have the best option'' so right now wahab is bowling very well and he should be given a chance. one more thing i wanted to add is that Imran Farhat is simply a joke in team, he should be dropped from the next match, his batting style is totally pathetic and all of us knows that he is the son in law of Muhammad Iilyas selector of the team... that's why he include his jerk son in law into the team... anyone can replace him.... cheers ;)

  • Harris.a on August 25, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    i think gul should play. wahab was lucky with his 5 wickets. the only reason he got the 5 wickets is because england did not know his bowling style! gul is a better bowler

  • on August 25, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    After THis Series .... plz GIve A FOREVER GUD BYE to IMRAN FARHAT >>>

  • on August 25, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    GUL IS NOT A TEST BOWLER....we lost previous tests jus becoz of GUl n Danish kaneria....after ASIf n AMir ... NO wicket taking Bowlers...... GUl is not a TEST bowler BY ANy MEann FOrtunatly Gul got injured ... n WE WON OVal TESt Match ..... n even i think dat Injury was FAKe 1 .....WAHAB riaz Got crucial 6 wickets to WOn DAT match....Gul REcovered so fast after seeing dat..... to be back IN The TEAM...... wht A DRAMAAA...!!!

  • KHURRAM_RAJA on August 26, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    i think umar gul should not play test cricket, he is better in ODIs and best in T20s

  • Dutch_Pakii_Samia on August 25, 2010, 14:33 GMT

    Wahab Riaz ore umar gul it doesnt matter both are good!

  • on August 25, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Umar Gul should be given chance as we need to win this test to level the test series and we have already lost two tests in the row and cant take any chances of loosing another one.

  • on August 25, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    Wahab is aggressive but gul has experience... if the wicket has some juice in it stick with wahab but if the wicket requires some experience of line and length and it is flat play gul

  • Pak-cricket on August 25, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    No doubt Umar Gul is a good bowler... But I would love to see the same team as 3rd test for Lords.. Umer Gul should be included in T20 and onedayers later in september..Lords will give one more chance to Wahab and Yasir to show how talented they are and prove thier captain and manaegent wrong by not picking them in the first 4 test this summer

  • on August 25, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    Give Gul a rest. He will be used as a strike bowler during the T20's, so give Gul a rest here and give Aamer and Asif a rest during some of the limited over games.

  • on August 25, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    i don't think so there is any need to replace wahab,,since he bowled really well in Oval .. so there is no need to bring umer gul back to team. Although we cant ignore him but as the says ''Better to have the best option'' so right now wahab is bowling very well and he should be given a chance. one more thing i wanted to add is that Imran Farhat is simply a joke in team, he should be dropped from the next match, his batting style is totally pathetic and all of us knows that he is the son in law of Muhammad Iilyas selector of the team... that's why he include his jerk son in law into the team... anyone can replace him.... cheers ;)

  • Harris.a on August 25, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    i think gul should play. wahab was lucky with his 5 wickets. the only reason he got the 5 wickets is because england did not know his bowling style! gul is a better bowler

  • on August 25, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    After THis Series .... plz GIve A FOREVER GUD BYE to IMRAN FARHAT >>>

  • on August 25, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    GUL IS NOT A TEST BOWLER....we lost previous tests jus becoz of GUl n Danish kaneria....after ASIf n AMir ... NO wicket taking Bowlers...... GUl is not a TEST bowler BY ANy MEann FOrtunatly Gul got injured ... n WE WON OVal TESt Match ..... n even i think dat Injury was FAKe 1 .....WAHAB riaz Got crucial 6 wickets to WOn DAT match....Gul REcovered so fast after seeing dat..... to be back IN The TEAM...... wht A DRAMAAA...!!!

  • ather_aziz on August 25, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    I think there is absolutely no reason to rush back a bowler like umar gul who is so vital to our limited overs team wether it be ODI's or T20I and we already have poor tanveer ahmed who has been sitting out for 5 tests in a row now and he hasnt been given a chance the poor lad has around 400 first class scalps so for me mohammad amir takes a rest not only bcz he is 18 but also bcz he will be very important for us in T20I's and ODI's and so therefore i wud go with only one change the winning side from the one at the oval which is tanveer for aamir and other thn tht i wud keep everythng the same

  • Rafi_Abbasi on August 25, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    i think umar gul is good for one dayers and t20 not for test........i think riaz is good for test as well as one days with ihis action and swing as well......

    Gull Sahad test mei ap ki jaga nahe bante.........

  • on August 25, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    I think Umer Amin should be given one more chance in front of Imran Farhat at Lords before he will be lost forever like other young talented players completely wasted by Pakistan Cricket Board. And to be honest he did not do very bad in the tour after all. He could be great asset for Pakistan for his stylish Left Hand Batting and slow medium deceptive bowling. He is young and just need some time and guidance. I can bet he would have done better than Azhar Ali at Oval if he was the one batting with Yousaf in the first innings.

  • on August 25, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    Omar Gul spedy recovery from injury eally very good, I think he will be in the playing eleven, Omar Akmal or Yasir Hamid one of hem should be rsted and Gul should be in.It will give great power for our Fast attak. and will also reliee Amar and Asif to over bowle. still there is no chance for Shoib Malik, he will remain on the side line. Still batting department little resty, we need a good atacking players, at this time the young leds ae very reserved attituatie, and playing deenceive game either it would be azhar Ali or YasirHami, also there is nio place for Farhat, Salman should play on his opening position. Kamaran is lucky that poor guy Zulqarnan injured himself and give aother chance to Kamran , although he keep the wicket very well, but still minus pointn is his batting which is very resty and he can not play his natural game,I don't know what batting coach is doing.

  • on August 25, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    i think we are missing one person we discuss odis and t twenty squads, and ie imran nazir, he is playing wonderfully well in a domestic tournament here in pakistan, muhammad hafeez has been selected in the team , i have alll regards for muhammad hafeez but he has been out of form for last two years n has shown no improvement in recent past , i dont know how he has been selected and prefered over imran nazir who is an obvious choice especially in t twenty team of the world

  • Waqar_Hassan on August 25, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    Yeah its not a good idea to play 5 fast bowlers, we need to strengthen the batting department and improve the fielding. As far as having the reserve bowling resources, it is blessing for us to have quality bowlers. We should not create hype around our bowlers, no doubt they are doing a good job but tagging them as world most dangerous is not appropriate at this stage. If we can discover 1 or 2 good batsman than we stand a good chance in lifting the world cup. For now a due credit to be given to Wasim, Waqar and Aqib for their contribution in polishing these young bowlers. If Irfan Pathan can take advice from wasim on his bowling than why not some of our batsman take advice from Dravid, Sachin. Plz don't get me wrong, the reason i put their names is that they can explain our players in same language whereas against the Aus or Eng coach our players will struggle to explain their problems and struggle to understand their explanation. We always say keep sports and politics aside.

  • on August 25, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    well, i would prefer to go in match wid three quickees and one spinner ie saeed ajmal, gul should be rested for final test so dat he is completely fit for odis and t20s. i agree wid dis idea dat some unknown powers are behind the inclusion of kamran akmal in test squad, i totally agree wid the saying dat he is the wicket keeper of history n the tragedy is dat still we are moving on wid him, how many more test matches we are gonna loose because him, when he takes even ordinary catches , we consider kamran is playing well today, how sad in a cricket loving rather cricket crazy nation we cant find a wicket keeper to replace kamran, i dont agree wid dis, if selectors are honest wid their job, i tell you dozen of players are there who are much better than kamran both wid gloves and bat, i would back rotation policy recommended by someone for fast bowlers future as now we have a strong pool of fast bowlers wid us,n last but not least younis should ave been an obvious choice for test squad.

  • Wasif_Minhas on August 25, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    I would keep Farhat for the last test for one reason, that opening with farhat and hameed will allow Butt to come at 3 thus providing more good looking batting line with Yousuf and Azhar at 4 & 5. It would be lovely to watch Pakistan playing with 4 fast bowlers and a spinner but at the moment we don't need it so it is better to keep the Gul fresh for ODI series.Best of luck Pakistan.

  • sm77e on August 25, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    Umar Gul does not deserve to be in the test team. He is only a twenty20 bowler. He does not even deserve to be in one day team. He is an over rated bowler. Just look at his career average and decide for yourself. Pakistan has much better options now. However, Umar Gul is really smart. He does not want Wahab to get another chance in next test. Imagine if Wahab does well again the people would want him on one day team too. Umar does not like that so he is pushing himself to be fit for upcoming test.

  • Engineer-Khan on August 25, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    Dear playing like Farhat, Umer gul is far better then him in batting as well. Abdul Razzaq should replace Imran Farhat, he can bat and his swing bolowing is also plus point. Also Abdul Razzaq will not drop catches like farhat drop in slips.

  • Satish_Sharma001 on August 25, 2010, 3:04 GMT

    Pakistan team is finally playing well. We should make only one change. Umar Gul in place of unfortunate Wahab Riaz who played so well in the last test but has to sit out to give room for more experienced Umar Gul if he is fit. I think Umar Akmal should be promoted in the batting order. I don't think he is comfortable at number 6. He needs to bat with Muhammad Yousuf to benefit from his experience and advice like Azhar did in the last test. I think this should be Pakistan's batting order in the next test: Imran, Yasir, Salman, Yousuf, Umar, Azhar, Kamran, Amir, Gul, Ajmal, Asif OR Imran, Yasir, Salman, Umar, Yousuf, Azhar, Kamran, Amir, Gul, Ajmal, Asif

  • SaqlainHK on August 25, 2010, 1:48 GMT

    Imran frahat and shoib Malik should not be concider at all for any form of cricket at the moment ,

  • karim_s on August 25, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    Hopefully the tour management is smart enough to rest Umar for the final test. He is too crucial for our ODI plans to risk aggravating the injury. We are too close to the World Cup to take stupid risks, and we have a LOT of cricket in the next 6 months.

    Wahab played well, and they should continue with him for the final test. Then we should adopt a rotation policy for our top three bowlers (Aamer, Asif, and Umar). In the next 6 months (leading to the world cup) we have 6 tests (1 england, 2 NZ, 3 SA), 5 T20s, and 16 ODIs. And possibly more if the Zimbabwe series goes through. It would be crazy to make all our top bowlers play all these matches.

  • Joji_ on August 25, 2010, 1:10 GMT

    That is good news. Gul is up and running. My my... aren't we spoilt for choices. And we haven't even given a cap to Tanveer... and Irfan is in the sidelines as well. Then there are Sami, tanveer lurking around in some corner. What indians wouldn't do to have a share of our fast bowling department. Cool.!!

  • Munkeymomo on August 25, 2010, 0:28 GMT

    @soulfrost, you have made the best point here, Pakistan do not need 5 bowlers. I would be much more concerned playing against 4 bowlers and the extra batsman considering the quality of the Pakistani bowling unit. Riaz had a good game but I would back Gul any day. Playing 5 bowlers would be playing into Englands hands, lords can be a tricky pitch to play with the slope and Pakistan would probably be advised to strengthen their batting. Personally as a selector I would play Younis but as an England fan I'm slightly glad he wont be playing, as a fan of good test matches though, he should be.

  • Hammad.Fayyaz on August 24, 2010, 22:28 GMT

    I would suggest to keep out Omer Akmal and bring in Omer Gul. It will reduce the bowling load on Aamer and Asif as well. Also I cant imagine why Omer Akmal is in Test squad. He should be in ODIs and in T20s only. Younis and Yousuf should be in Tests only (like Dravid and Laxman for India). But I guess Kamran Akmal is very influential when it comes to support his brother. The truth of matter is, Kamran's place has always been in danger but what are those powers who always keeps him in side? Nobody knows !! When he takes catches, we always have a relief sigh - this is now the criteria we have :). Zulquarnain Haider is a very promising keeper and I think let kamran do keeping in ODIs and T20s and keep Haider for Tests only.

  • Hasso29 on August 24, 2010, 22:16 GMT

    imran farhat has given enough chance 12 consecutive test in a row.its time to move on

  • on August 24, 2010, 21:37 GMT

    Imran Farhat is a good opening batsman But his style is not recommended for Test Cricket. He can perform good in test Cricket when they allow him to play his natural game, Ijaz Ahmed the Pakistan batting Coach advises them to stop throughout the whole innings and let the ball come to Bat without you making the effort. Think about it when Pakistan was in a collapse against New Zealand in 2009 he scored 117 and carried his bat. Against Australia chasing a Small target in Leeds he scored 67. A Dazzling start in the oval by making 33. It's the same with Umar Akmal Back in Australia and New Zealand he played his Natural game and scored big, He's confused too and in two minds too now. Shane warne even said "For some reason they just don't seem to be playing like the real Pakistan"

  • LeftBrain on August 24, 2010, 18:49 GMT

    I would tend to play Gul with the three quicks who played at Oval, plus Ajmal. An old style five-men attack would be awesome, besides dropping either Kamran Akmal or Umar Akmal or Imran Farhat wont harm Pakistan at all. Gul has a better chance of scoring runs then these Dhaggey players. Dropping Kamran will be a blessing as Yasir Hameed can be tested as WC in his place and we will get rid of the worst keeper in history. Besides, since Imran Farhat is not part of ODI series, wouldnt it be a good idea to send him back now? he is not going to do any thing any ways.

  • charia on August 24, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    he taz!!!!!!!!where's amir in ur selection amir iz much better than riaz

  • soulfrost on August 24, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    All you guys are really not serious, are you?? Our team is excellent in bowling and you want to add another bowler?! What we need is more batsmen! Farhat may have not played well but opening the batting is an art and we cannot rely on Gul to open the batting! Farhat sees off the new ball and makes it easier for the lower order. Like for once guys, comment with some sense!!

  • on August 24, 2010, 18:32 GMT

    I think it is our batting that needs to be bolstered... in the given circumstances, I think it would have been ideal to have an all-rounder in the team; someone of Razzaq's caliber but unfortunately we don't (Umar Gul does not fall in this category)

  • Usman12784 on August 24, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    if umer gul is fit he and only he can have the place inn the squad whab is not as good as umer gul umer gul can bowl revese with 90 mile pin point yorker and seam the bowl well but wahab is not experience as him so my team is imran ,yasir,butt,yousuf,azhar,umwr,kamran amer,gul,ajmal,asif

  • salmankhan1234 on August 24, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    @Taz786 lol when was the last time he was in form in 2004, or napier test against New zealand where he hit the worst century of all time.

  • Tigg on August 24, 2010, 17:31 GMT

    Definitely play four seamers. Between Gul, Amir, Ajmal and Riaz you have an all rounder or two's worth of batting. Asif is the only player who looks anything close to a bunny and even he can block a bit

    Drop Kamran, he's done nothing with batt and is probably not even the second best gloveman in the squad.

  • Zahidsaltin on August 24, 2010, 16:18 GMT

    Why not play all 4 seamer and Ajmal too. We can drop Kamran Akmal and ask Yase hamid to do the keeping work. Kamran is no good anyway. Wahab will surely score more runs than Kamran.

  • Taz786 on August 24, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Seeing as Pakistan need to win this test more than England do in order to level the series, wouldn't it be an idea if they dropped Farhat who has been woefully out of form and Add Gul instead, after all Gul's batted just as well if not better in the series.

    My team would be...

    Butt, Hameed, Ali, Yousaf, U Akmal, K Akmal, Amir, Gul, Riaz, Ajmal, Asif

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  • Taz786 on August 24, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Seeing as Pakistan need to win this test more than England do in order to level the series, wouldn't it be an idea if they dropped Farhat who has been woefully out of form and Add Gul instead, after all Gul's batted just as well if not better in the series.

    My team would be...

    Butt, Hameed, Ali, Yousaf, U Akmal, K Akmal, Amir, Gul, Riaz, Ajmal, Asif

  • Zahidsaltin on August 24, 2010, 16:18 GMT

    Why not play all 4 seamer and Ajmal too. We can drop Kamran Akmal and ask Yase hamid to do the keeping work. Kamran is no good anyway. Wahab will surely score more runs than Kamran.

  • Tigg on August 24, 2010, 17:31 GMT

    Definitely play four seamers. Between Gul, Amir, Ajmal and Riaz you have an all rounder or two's worth of batting. Asif is the only player who looks anything close to a bunny and even he can block a bit

    Drop Kamran, he's done nothing with batt and is probably not even the second best gloveman in the squad.

  • salmankhan1234 on August 24, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    @Taz786 lol when was the last time he was in form in 2004, or napier test against New zealand where he hit the worst century of all time.

  • Usman12784 on August 24, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    if umer gul is fit he and only he can have the place inn the squad whab is not as good as umer gul umer gul can bowl revese with 90 mile pin point yorker and seam the bowl well but wahab is not experience as him so my team is imran ,yasir,butt,yousuf,azhar,umwr,kamran amer,gul,ajmal,asif

  • on August 24, 2010, 18:32 GMT

    I think it is our batting that needs to be bolstered... in the given circumstances, I think it would have been ideal to have an all-rounder in the team; someone of Razzaq's caliber but unfortunately we don't (Umar Gul does not fall in this category)

  • soulfrost on August 24, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    All you guys are really not serious, are you?? Our team is excellent in bowling and you want to add another bowler?! What we need is more batsmen! Farhat may have not played well but opening the batting is an art and we cannot rely on Gul to open the batting! Farhat sees off the new ball and makes it easier for the lower order. Like for once guys, comment with some sense!!

  • charia on August 24, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    he taz!!!!!!!!where's amir in ur selection amir iz much better than riaz

  • LeftBrain on August 24, 2010, 18:49 GMT

    I would tend to play Gul with the three quicks who played at Oval, plus Ajmal. An old style five-men attack would be awesome, besides dropping either Kamran Akmal or Umar Akmal or Imran Farhat wont harm Pakistan at all. Gul has a better chance of scoring runs then these Dhaggey players. Dropping Kamran will be a blessing as Yasir Hameed can be tested as WC in his place and we will get rid of the worst keeper in history. Besides, since Imran Farhat is not part of ODI series, wouldnt it be a good idea to send him back now? he is not going to do any thing any ways.

  • on August 24, 2010, 21:37 GMT

    Imran Farhat is a good opening batsman But his style is not recommended for Test Cricket. He can perform good in test Cricket when they allow him to play his natural game, Ijaz Ahmed the Pakistan batting Coach advises them to stop throughout the whole innings and let the ball come to Bat without you making the effort. Think about it when Pakistan was in a collapse against New Zealand in 2009 he scored 117 and carried his bat. Against Australia chasing a Small target in Leeds he scored 67. A Dazzling start in the oval by making 33. It's the same with Umar Akmal Back in Australia and New Zealand he played his Natural game and scored big, He's confused too and in two minds too now. Shane warne even said "For some reason they just don't seem to be playing like the real Pakistan"