KARACHI: Pakistan bowling coach Mohammad Akram said he is hopeful that pacemen Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan will be able to fill the void created by fast-bowler Umar Gul’s absence in the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy.
Gul injured his knee during the South Africa tour and was advised surgery, ruling him out of action for at least eight weeks.
After comments that Pakistan’s fast-bowling department was not performing upto the mark, Gul’s absence from the event in England will be a major blow.
However, Akram, while admitting that Gul will be missed, said this was a chance for the youngsters to perform and prove their mettle.
“Gul will be severely missed,” said the former cricketer at the National Stadium on the sidelines of the ongoing camp for fast bowlers.
“The Champions Trophy is going to be a tough assignment and his experience would have come in handy.”
Gul has a phenomenal One-Day International (ODI) record in England, featuring in six matches and taking 14 wickets with his career-best figures of six for 42 coming at The Oval in 2010 against the hosts.
However, Akram hoped Irfan and Junaid will cover-up for Gul’s absence.
“It’s a good chance for youngsters to prove themselves. Irfan and Junaid are impact bowlers who can play a key role.”
Akram was also confident that Pakistan would do well at the event, adding that the ongoing training camp – being supervised by the legendary Wasim Akram – would aid the bowlers.
“Everyone knows that Pakistan can turn the tide any day. Our team has many players who are match-winners on their day. We are working hard and I am hopeful of good results.
“While I feel that this 10-day training camp is not enough, improvement is certain due to Wasim’s valuable tips. It is always beneficial to take guidance from a vastly experienced coach.”
Tanvir joins fast-bowling camp
Meanwhile, paceman Sohail Tanvir, not a part of the original guest-list, has joined the camp after getting permission from the Pakistan Cricket Board. Tanvir’s addition takes the tally of bowlers attending the camp to 20.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2013.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ