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

Umar Gul winning fitness race


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 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

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

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

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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 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

  • Dummy4 on August 25, 2010, 11:54 GMT

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

  • Dummy4 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...!!!

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