Karachi: Experienced pacer Umar Gul will return home from the United Arab Emirates after being released by the team management, Pakistan Cricket Board said on Thursday.
Gul, who had a knee operation in May in Melbourne, was recalled to the national side for the last three ODIs against Sri Lanka last month. He took six wickets in two matches but appeared to struggle in the last match.
But surprisingly, the team management decided to retain him for the ongoing three match Test series against Sri Lanka in the UAE despite question marks over his fitness.
The Board today announced that the team management after consulting the team physio Dale Naylor, who treated Gul for one week, decided to release him. Naylor had recommended Gul for further training at the National Cricket Academy.
"Accordingly, Umar Gul is returning to Pakistan and has been advised to participate in domestic cricket to regain Test match fitness," a Board release said.
Pakistan's former fast bowler and captain Waqar Younis had strongly criticised the decision to retain Gul in the Test squad, saying that he was not fit enough for a Test comeback.
Waqar had also expressed surprise that instead of sending Gul back to Pakistan and making him play domestic matches, the Board had decided to keep him with the team for a rehabilitation process.
The Board has also sent tall left-arm pacer Muhammad Irfan to UAE to be with the team to continue his rehabilitation process under the supervision of Naylor and doctor Faisal.
Irfan had suffered a hip injury during the series against South Africa in the UAE last October and has been out of action since then.
Sources said Irfan had made good recovery from his injury and could even be considered to play a Test in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka if the need arises, though he has not been named in the Test squad.