Senior Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul, who underwent knee surgery in Australia last May announced he was ready to return to competitive cricket after a lapse of more than six months.
The 29-year-old right-arm bowler was sent to Melbourne where Dr David Young, a renowned orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports injuries, performed an arthroscopy on the right knee after the cricketer limped out of the one-day series during the South Africa tour.
Consequently, Umar was ruled out of the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales and the subsequent tours of the West Indies and Zimbabwe.
In his enforced absence, Pakistan failed to progress beyond the preliminary round of the Champions Trophy where they lost all three games before winning both the Twenty20 and ODI series in the West Indies.
But the national side had a mixed trip to Zimbabwe. Despite winning the Twenty20 and one-day series, Pakistan suffered a shock 24-run defeat in the second Test in Harare which enabled lowly-rated Zimbabweans share the two-match rubber.
Since returning from Australia, Umar — the leading bowler in all Twenty20 Internationals with 74 wickets in 52 matches — had spent the best part of last seven weeks at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.
Under the guidance of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s team of Dr. Sohail Saleem and trainers Yasir and Ashraf, Umar had been undergoing rehabilitation programme to regain complete fitness.
“Thank God, everything appears to be settling down. The knee is fine with no signs of ill-effects from the surgery I had a few months ago. Over the past 15 days, I have started bowling in the nets as well,” Umar revealed.