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India face tough tour opener

December 27, 2005 19:46 IST

Fast bowler Umar Gul was named in a 12-member Pakistan 'A' team to face India in the three-day tour opener at the Bagh-e-Jinnah Stadium in Lahore from January 7 to 9.

Gul, whose last international appearance was also against India, at Lahore last year when he took six wickets in the first Test to guide the hosts to a nine-wicket victory, has regained complete fitness from the back injury that sidelined him for more than 20 months.

He took 20 wickets in the just concluded domestic Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and picked five wickets in two games so far in the ongoing Patron's Trophy.

"I am delighted with the news that I have been named in the squad. It gives me an opportunity to win back my lost place. I think in 20 months, I have lost a lot of ground and it will require my best performance to get back in the team," Gul said on Tuesday.

"It's nice to get a comeback game against India because my last best international performance was also again them. But it is not going to be easy this time because India is a very strong batting lineup but I think I am bowling well."

Hasan Raza, who flopped in the two Tests against England, was retained as the captain of the team that has seven Test cricketers, including forgotten opener Mohammad Wasim and middle-order batsman Asim Kamal.

India will play only one tour match after arriving on January 5 before taking on Pakistan in three Tests and five one-dayers.

Pakistan A squad: Hasan Raza (captain), Imran Farhat, Mohammad Wasim, Faisal Iqbal, Asim Kamal, Bazid Khan, Zulqarnain Haider (w/k), Mansoor Amjad, Mohammad Irshad, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Yasir Arafat.

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