Thursday 29 November 2007 

Pakistan Pace Bowler Umar Gul To Return Home

Pakistan pace bowler Umar Gul is to return home after failing to recover from a back injury with the injury-hit side set calling up Yasir Arafat as cover ahead of the second Test against India, which starts in Kolkata tomorrow (Friday).

"Gul is going back," Malik told reporters on Thursday.

"He bowled all out yesterday at practice, but felt pain today, so he is being sent back. We've called for replacements and given the selectors a few options. We're hoping they will reach today."

Yasir Arafat was confirmed as the player to replace Gul, and he is due to arrive in India on Thursday night.

Gul has had a history of back problems, and his injury means he is the latest Pakistan player to go down injured, after Shoaib Akhtar, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Sami, Salman Butt and Misbah-ul-Haq have all suffered injuries or fallen ill after the first Test, which India won by six wickets in Delhi. They are also already missing strike bowler Mohammad Asif with an elbow injury.

Pakistan have a struggle on their hands to find eleven fit men, with Sohail Tanvir, Abdur Rehman and Danish Kaneria the only unaffected bowlers.

Meanwhile, Indian captain Anil Kumble was hopeful that India could wrap up a first series victory against Pakistan at home since 1979-80.

"This is an opportunity for us to set the record straight," he said.

"It seems to be a decent wicket and it should play well. But it is for us to take the momentum from Kotla (venue of the first test in New Delhi) and ensure that we turn the screws on early."