Tuesday 27 February 2007 

Razzaq Ruled Out Of World Cup, Gul Passed Fit

Pakistan suffered mixed fortunes on Tuesday in the run-up to next month's World Cup after all-rounder Abdul Razzaq was ruled out with a knee injury but paceman Umar Gul was cleared to play.

The team's media manager, Pervez Mir, said Razzaq had been hit on the knee in the nets and will be out of action for at least three weeks.

"He is out of the World Cup and we have called up reserve Azhar Mahmood as his replacement," Mir told Reuters.

Coach Bob Woolmer added Razzaq's injury was a blow as "he is one of our key players". The 27-year-old has played 229 one-dayers for his country.

The team, however, were relieved when the board's medical panel cleared Gul.

The 24-year-old was sent home from the recent tour of South Africa without playing in the test or one-day series after developing a shin problem as a complication from an existing ankle injury.

"Gul is fine now and has been bowling in the nets with the team. His availability is a big boost for the team," Woolmer said. .

Gul, who has taken 30 wickets in 25 one-day internationals, is considered as key member of the bowling attack with doubts remaining over new-ball pairing Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif for the March 13-April 28 tournament in West Indies.

Woolmer said he had no new details of Shoaib and Asif's progress, with the pair receiving treatment in London for their knee and elbow injuries.

"Gul is the most improved bowler over the last year," Woolmer said of the injury-prone player, who also has 61 test wickets.

Pakistan are in Group D with all their pool matches being played in Kingston, Jamaica. The open their campaign on March 13 against hosts West Indies, with Zimbabwe and Ireland making up the four-team group.

© Reuters 2007