ICC World Twenty20 2010 April 18, 2010

Gul and Arafat out of World Twenty20


Defending champions Pakistan suffered a major blow less than a fortnight from the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean when Umar Gul and Yasir Arafat were both officially ruled out of the tournament, having failed to recover sufficiently from injuries picked up in the ongoing training camp.

But the announcement of replacements was a typically muddled process, with a lack of communication between the team management and the chairman PCB, Ijaz Butt, resulting in the former naming two replacements and the latter hurriedly issuing a press release clarifying that "the decision for the replacement of two players in Pakistan Team for ICC T-20 World Cup has yet to be approved by the Chairman PCB. The Final decision will be released after approval. All statement made earlier in this regard are not correct."

The 'statement' the release referred to was made by Shahid Afridi, Waqar Younis and then chief selector Mohsin Khan, all of whom told reporters that fast bowlers Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Irfan would be the replacements. "In mutual agreement with captain and coach, we have decided that we will not take a chance with half-fit players," Mohsin said in Lahore. "We have approved the names of Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Irfan as replacements." The chief selector later confirmed to Cricinfo specifically that approval had been given.

But Cricinfo understands that the board chairman hadn't been informed of the names at that point; senior officials in the board were bewildered that the trio had announced the names without any consultation with the chairman. "There has been some miscommunication over this but the names have not been approved," Butt told Cricinfo. "They will be announced later today."

The confusion initially overshadowed the magnitude of Pakistan's loss. A calf injury had ruled Arafat out some time ago and it was only his departure from the tournament last year and Abdul Razzaq's arrival that settled Pakistan's line-up.

But Gul will be a significant blow, especially as he was thought to be recovering from a shoulder injury he picked up during a fielding drill. Medical assessments held over the weekend weren't bright. Gul had been their leading wicket-taker in both the 2007 and 2009 editions of the World Twenty20. His death bowling was a key component of the 2009 success in particular, a record spell of 5-6 against New Zealand, sparking a turnaround in the team's fortunes. He is currently the world's leading wicket-taker in the format.

Sami's name was widely being touted as a possible replacement in any case, so impressive has his comeback into the national eye been since he led Karachi to a Quaid-e-Azam trophy title last year and was called up to Australia. Afridi has always been a fan and at the ICC trophy unveiling earlier this week, informally spoke very highly of Sami's commitment and energy in the field.

If both replacements are approved by the chairman, Irfan's will be one of the stories of the tournament and not only because he will be the tallest bowler there: his official height, with typical confusion, is recorded as anywhere between 6'8" and 7'2". The left-arm paceman's rise to national selection is nothing short of remarkable.

He made his first-class debut this season, for Khan Research Laboratories, only after huge interest was created around him on the popular Pakistani fans' website, PakPassion.net. One of their writers was told of Irfan by a former first-class fast bowler Nadeem Iqbal, who was running an academy in Multan; Irfan hails from Gaggu Mandi, a nearby town which also produced former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Zahid.

The writer, while subsequently interviewing Aaqib Javed - then with the National Cricket Academy in Lahore - mentioned Irfan's name to him and Aaqib immediately asked for Irfan to come to the academy. He was spotted by KRL captain Mohammad Wasim, the former Pakistan opener, and an impressive debut season brought him to the attention of the selectors.

Though he wasn't in the reserves of the 15-man squad announced by the PCB, his performances in the RBS Twenty20 Cup and the potential surprise value his height brings have thought to have persuaded the management to prompt for him.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on April 23, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    god help pakistan cricket. this ijaz butt has ruind pak cricket. i hope pak doesnt loose its great players anymore. the guy who won the world t20 for them(yunis khan) is out of cricket. guy who took pak to final in 07 is also out of cricket. guy who bowled spells like 4 wkts for 6 odd runs is also out. how are they going to win? their best player afridi is eating cricket balls. who is left? i hope they give a tough fight.

  • swatians on April 21, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    I was really happy when i heard about Muhammad Irfan and Muhammad Sami, Although the absence of Umar Gul is a big blow, but we were hopeful that as last year Muhammad Aamir fullfill and grow up as a new fast bowler and showed his class, we were expecting that Muhammad Irfan will also do the same this year, But that Buttttttttt... just destroy everthing. We people outside from country really feel bad when see such stupid decisions from our countrymen at such top level. God Bless you Pakis......... we are still with you.

  • dibbu on April 21, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    Regarding Md. Irfan, "his official height, with typical confusion, is recorded as anywhere between 6'8" and 7'2!" Are you kidding me? Can't the PCB even record players heights now! With the IPL saga unfolding in India, and PCB being in its usual mess, it is quite disconcerting how unprofessionally cricket is being run in South-Asia. The people, the fans, deserve better, much better!

  • Arbab-Gondal on April 20, 2010, 23:00 GMT

    Abdur Rahman got in the team cos he is from Sialkot - place Ijaz Butt is from. how could u replace a fast bowler with a spinner? we already have 3 quality spinners in the squad -Ajmal, Afridi and Malik. I think Butt's lost the plot. Shameful decision.

  • ZAQS on April 20, 2010, 21:23 GMT


    This is Mohammad Irfan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XKXKZXx4nQ and Ijaz Butt shame on you.

    Umair I totally agree with you what you said.. why we even have selectors, captain, coach if everything needs to be decided by this MR IJAZ BUTT... he needs to be replaced if pak cricket has to survive

  • oshekhani on April 20, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    Friends very sad day for Pakistan cricket and we can't do anything about it.I would say let's start the petition over the country and see how many people are in the favor to remove But.

    Cricinfo admin please setup up a survey question and help Pakistan cricket out and we just trying to save our country cricket here.


  • Farooq78 on April 20, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    Mr. Ijaz Butt has lost it. He is out of his mind. Pakistan desperately need him out of PCB. My T20 WC 2010 winning Pakistan team combination is: 1. Imran Nazir 2. Kamran Akmal 3. Shahid Afridi 4. Umer Akmal 5. Shaoib Malik 6. Misbah ul Haq 7. Abdul Razzaq 8. Mohammad Aamer 9. Mohammad Irfan 10. Saeed Ajmal 11. Mohammad Asif. Regards

  • oshekhani on April 20, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    Waqar Younus and Shahid Afridi both were very upset about taking out of Irfan from the list this young man have lot of talent. Ijaz Butt Jezzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!this guy think he is the god of PCB and he owns everything. This will be a disaster tournament for Pakistan and we will see a lot of drama after tournament will be over. Caribbean pitches may give out huge favor to the spinners and no doubt Rehman is one of thetop spinner for the country and on the other hand Mohammad Sami is not a right choice he always choke a give out so many runs.

    Good Luck Pakistan...

    Pakistan Zaindabad

  • khan864 on April 20, 2010, 7:57 GMT

    this is pakistan ,salman butt, khalid latif is in teem they should be out from teem this player muhammad irfan if he was in india are other country he must be in teem this why they are playing good cricket ,and look other teems ,and look pakistan cricket when teem lose they blame captan ,and players but ijaz butt is like mushraf

  • dummy4fb on April 20, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    I can see why they went for Mohammed Irfan . He should be fast tracked in the squad , a 7ft bowling giant is not only a spectacle but also brings real depth into the bowling squad , under Waqar's teachings he could be a force in cricket . He won't go to the t20s because he wasn't in the list of 30 and you can't pull rabbits out of hats with regards to the ICC

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