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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Gul, Arafat out of Pakistan's Twenty20 WC squad

Gul, Arafat out of Pakistan's Twenty20 WC squad

April 19, 2010 09:24 IST

Umar GulDefending champions Pakistan suffered a double blow when pacer Umar Gul and all-rounder Yasir Arafat were ruled out of the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies after failing to recover from injuries sustained during the ongoing preparatory camp in Lahore.

The selectors have recommended the names of Mohammad Sami and uncapped Mohammad Irfan as their replacements, however, a final decision would be taken by the PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt.

Chief selector, Mohsin Khan told reporters here that both Gul and Arafat failed to clear the final fitness test on Sunday.

"We have recommended the names of fast bowlers Mohammad Sami and 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 said.

Mohsin said the name of left-arm fast bowler Irfan was recommended by former pacer Aaqib Javed who had invited him to the national academy for some bowling session where he impressed everyone.

Arafat was ruled out with a calf muscle injury, while Gul injured his shoulder during an extended training camp.

"Gul was thought to be recovering from a shoulder injury he picked during a fielding drill, but medical assessments held over the weekend weren't bright enough and the team management thought it would be risky to pick injured players," Mohsin said.

"In mutual agreement with the captain and the coach, we have decided that we will not take a chance with half-fit players," he added.

Gul's loss would be a major one for the side as he has been their leading wicket-taker in both the 2007 and 2009 editions of the World Twenty20.

His bowling in death overs was a key component of the team's success in 2009, where he had recorded a maverick spell of five for six against New Zealand, sparking a turnaround in the team's fortunes.

He was currently the world's leading wicket-taker in the format.

If uncapped Irfan makes it to the final squad, he would be the tallest bowler there -- his official height recorded roughly was between 6'8" and 7'2".

The left-arm paceman's rise to national selection was nothing short of an achievement. He made his first-class debut this season, for Khan Research Laboratories and had impressed with his steady bowling although not fast but accurate.

Though he wasn't in the reserve 15-member squad originally announced by the PCB, his performances in the RBS Twenty20 Cup and his height factor seemed to have persuaded the management to prompt for him.

Pakistan is in Group A with Australia and Bangladesh for next month's T20 World Cup in the Caribbean.

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