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Yes, Umar Gul, an experienced fast bowler, has been ruled out of the of the ICC World Twenty20 due to start in the West Indies later this month due to an injury like all-rounder Yasir Arafat.
The clarification is very much needed here because of the ongoing chaos and mess the Pakistan cricket is in at the moment. Quite a few celebrated performers didn’t make the squad because of ineligibility.
Umar and Yasir were very much eligible for selection and both of them featured in the Pakistan squad for what has also been acclaimed as the Twenty20 World Cup.
Umar had sustained a shoulder injury during a practice session at Lahore’s National Cricket Academy while Yasir was struggling to get out of his calf injury. Neither them could not clear the fitness test conducted at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on April 18.
Their absence has been described as a big blow to defending champions Pakistan, who have replaced the injured duo of fast bowlers Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Irfan.
"In mutual agreement with captain and coach, we have decided that we will not take a chance with half-fit players,” chief selector Mohsin Khan was quoted as saying.
"We recommended the names of fast bowlers Mohammad Sami and uncapped Mohammad Irfan as replacements for the injured players. We have picked Sami from the list of five reserves we had kept for the World Cup," he added.
"Umar Gul would be missed in the Twenty20 World Cup and this is disappointing that he is not the part of the team," Mohsin remarked.
Umar was hopeful of recovering in time but coach Waqar Younis and chief selector Mohsin Khan insisted that no player will be part of the squad unless fully fit.
The lion-hearted had come up in sterling performance in the last two editions of T20 World Cup and was the leading wicket-takers for Pakistan on both occasions. In fact he has taken the highest number of wickets in Twenty20 Internationals, having scalped no less than 43 batsmen in 26 matches.
He also recorded the best Twenty20 bowling figures when he took five wickets for six runs against New Zealand in the second World Twenty20, which Pakistan won in England last year.
The Pakistan skipper, Shahid Afridi, also expressed his disappointment at Umar’s absence but hoped that the team will cope with the situation.
“Umar is our best bowler, but we have to cope with it and now Sami has to replace him and perform,” he observed.
Sami, who clocked 90 miles an hour, has played 34 Tests and 83 One-day matches for Pakistan but he has yet to play a Twenty20 International. Irfan is a lanky left-arm quickie, who has not represented the country as the international level yet.
Pakistan have been placed in Group A of the ICC Twenty20 and they will play their first match against Bangladesh on May 1 in St Lucia before taking on Australia the next day at the same venue. The tournament starts on April 30 and ends on May 16
Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports since childhood. After having edited wall papers and magazines in his student life, he had started contributing to various international publications from an early age.
He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.
He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News. He has also appeared regularly as an analyst on various television channels.
He has already authored 12 books viz Asian Glory (2012); Reflections (2010); Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).
He has had an active social life throughout. Having founded The Young Champs in 1984 he became the District Secretary of Rotary International District 3271 (Pakistan) in 2015-16. Besides being the Founder President of the NED Alumni Association, he is also the Vice President of the Delhi College & Schools Old Boys Association. He is also a member of The Petarian Association, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Engineering Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
His write-ups are carried by innumerable portals and websites across the world while his exclusive articles on the web, having grown in popularity, could be accessed on his blog at www.skmsports.com
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