Pakistan's injury concerns have been partially eased with Umar Gul cleared to take his place in the World Cup squad. He flew home early from the tour of South Africa without playing a match after developing a shin problem, which resulted from a previous ankle injury, but has come through Pakistan's training camp in Lahore.
"Gul is fine now and has been bowling in the nets with the team. His availability is a big boost for the team," coach Bob Woolmer told reporters. "[He] is the most improved bowler over the last year."
Gul, who has taken 30 wickets in 25 ODIs, is shaping as a vital member of the bowling attack with doubts remaining over whether Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif will make it to the World Cup. Woolmer added he had no new details of Shoaib and Asif's progress, with the pair receiving treatment in London for their knee and elbow injuries.
Pakistan have been hit by a series of injury problems during the season, especially on tour in South Africa where Shoaib Malik missed the Test series, Akhtar was restricted to half a Test and Shabbir Ahmed flew home days after arriving as a replacement. Malik has been included in the World Cup squad but Shabbir missed the cut.