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Hameed, Gul, Kamal unlikely for Lahore Test

Absence of Pakistani opener Yasir Hameed, who is down with typhoid, will leave the home side grappling with only few options for the job

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 19:23 IST

Pakistan are unlikely to name opener Yasir Hameed, paceman Umar Gul and middle-order batsman Asim Kamal as they announce tomorrow the 15-man squad for the first cricket Test against India starting at Lahore's Gadaffi Stadium on Friday.

Yasir is down with typhoid and will resume training at Lahore for the second Test after Eid-ul-Azha while Umar Gul is expected to miss out as the selectors are certain to persist with the four-men pace attack of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Mohammad Asif.

Left-handed Asim Kamal, who averages 37.77 in 12 Tests, is likely to be left out because of "poor recent form", a decision that may hurt Pakistan selectors if Anil Kumble manages to perform close to something the 1999 New Delhi achievement where he took a Perfect 10.

Kamal scored 407 runs at 33.92 in 12 innings of seven Tests he played last year, including scores of 91, 48, 6, 50 and 4 against India.

Surprisingly, Sami, who has taken just 65 wickets in 24 Tests, is being preferred over Umar Gul despite managing only 17 wickets in six Tests last year.

Gul, who took six wickets against India at Lahore in 2004, has claimed 36 wickets in seven first-class matches this season.

In the first innings of the ongoing three-day tour opener match against India, he had figures 19-3-58-1.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said selection for the Lahore Test was tough.

"We are still in discussion stages and although we have more or less finalised the team, a few places available in the team need to be discussed further," he said.

"Our strategy has suffered a setback with the absence of Yasir Hameed because he was a certain selection. The requirement of this series is specialists. We need specialist batsmen to put decent scores and wicket-taking bowlers to dismiss India twice in a match.

"This is no rocket science but in other series we can experiment with allrounders and make a few changes in the batting order which we can't afford in this series," Inzamam said.

"I just wanted to have an idea about their form."

Inzamam said the toughest selection was in the fast bowling department.

"We have plenty of excellent bowlers in the ranks but I think we will go for continuity. I understand that Umar Gul has a strong claim but at the same time Sami is with us for a long time and although he has not justified his talent, he deserves another chance."

Likely squad for first Test: Inzamam-ul-Haq (captain), Younis Khan (vice-captain), Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal (wk), Danish Kaneria, Arshad Khan, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Asif, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Riffatullah Mohmad/Imran Farhat.

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 19:20 IST