Umar Gul joins ODI squad in UAE
Umar Gul, the Pakistan fast bowler, will return to international cricket following a nine-month injury layoff, after the selectors included him in the squad for the remainder of the ODI series against Sri Lanka in the UAE. He will join the squad on Sunday, ahead of the third of five matches.
"The national selection committee in consultation with the tour selection committee has decided to send Umar Gul to UAE as part of national ODI squad," the PCB said. "He will join the Pakistan team on December 22."
The decision to pick Gul was made after Pakistan lost the second ODI in Dubai by six wickets despite posting 284, due to sloppy bowling in the death overs. Following the defeat, which left the series 1-1, Pakistan's captain Misbah-ul-Haq immediately expressed concern about the lack of experience among his bowlers.
Gul sustained a knee injury in March during the second ODI against South Africa in Centurion, and missed five series since, including the Champions Trophy. Following the injury, he travelled to Australia for surgery and after six weeks of rest, began his rehabilitation. He eased himself back into competitive cricket by featuring in List A matches in October and went on to play the Department Twenty20 Cup for Habib Bank, but his form remained unimpressive.
Gul was to make a return against South Africa in October after regaining full fitness, but lacked match practice and continued his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. He subsequently failed a fitness Test before the announcement of the ODI squad for the Sri Lanka series, and was asked to continue playing domestic cricket to regain his rhythm and form. He did that by taking 11 wickets against Port Qasim Authority in the President's Trophy.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here