Wasim Bari, Pakistan's chief selector, expressed fears that the expected return of Umar Gul, the injured fast bowler, for the second Test against South Africa next week might backfire.
"I hope they (Pakistan team management) take a sensible decision on Gul otherwise we might suffer," Bari told The News.
Bari hoped that Pakistan would not rush in the talented Gul, who is seen among the key players for March's World Cup campaign in the West Indies.
Gul, Pakistan's most successful Test fast bowler in 2006, missed the opening Test at Centurion because of an ankle injury. Pakistan went on to lose the Test by seven wickets earlier this week.
Initial medical reports suggested that the injury would keep Gul out of international action for at least three weeks. However, reports coming from South Africa signal Gul's return for the next Test, scheduled to get underway from January 19 in Port Elizabeth.
Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan captain, said recently that Gul has recovered and is expected to play in the second Test. A PCB official also confirmed that Gul is likely to get the all-clear to return to the line-up in Port Elizabeth where the tourists will be looking forward to level the three-match series.
However, Bari said that Pakistan might be acting hastily in forcing Gul to make an early comeback. "I'm afraid that if Gul is brought back hastily he might aggravate his injury and he could then be out for a long time. It happened last year when Rana Naved-ul-Hasan was forced to play by his county in spite of an injury and he was out for quite a few months," said Bari, referring to the injury-related absence of Naved-ul-Hasan, who missed several matches in 2006 because of a groin injury he sustained while playing for Sussex.
The former Test cricketer, however, hoped that the team management would take the right decision in Gul's case. "I hope better sense prevails because with the World Cup just round the corner we cannot afford to make any mistakes," he said.
Meanwhile, a PCB spokesman played down any such fears saying that all of Pakistan's leading bowlers would be available for the second Test. "We have received positive reports on our bowling attack and we expect that Pakistan would take the field in Port Elizabeth with their first choice bowlers," he said.
He added that fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has also been declared match fit and is all set to bowl in the second Test.