Path to recovery December 15, 2004

Gul to consult doctors in South Africa next month

Cricinfo staff

Umar Gul was keen to recover in time for the Indian tour, beginning in February next year © AFP

Umar Gul will travel to South Africa next month to consult doctors in Cape Town about his recovery from injury. Gul has been on the sidelines since April this year when he suffered two stress fractures after starring in Pakistan's memorable series-leveling win against India at Lahore.

Gul's nippy medium-pace had provided Pakistan's varied bowling line-up with an extra dimension and he had his sights clearly set on the series against India beginning in February 2005. "I am so keen to make the India tour," Gul told The News. I am feeling OK now but I will only know my proper fitness position once I start bowling again.

"I have been following the exercises and training course advised to me by the doctors in Cape Town and also the team fitness trainer and physio for the last few months and already I feel better."

Gul's tremendous promise was never under question and his 25 wickets in just five Tests is ample evidence. His 5 for 31 on the first morning at Lahore tore the Indian top order apart and helped Pakistan make a fist of the series.

Meanwhile, another promising young Pakistan fast bowler, Shabbir Ahmed, was also getting back to full fitness. Shabbir has been working on his recovery programme under the guidance of Dr Sohail Ahmed, appointed by the Pakistan board. Shabbir was not picked for the Test series in Australia since Inzamam-ul-Haq and Bob Woolmer thought that he needed more match practice after undergoing a knee surgery. Though he hasn't yet played a domestic game yet, Shabbir has a good chance of making it to the one-day squad for the triangular series in January.