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Pakistan's Umar Gul bowling in the nets after long lay-off

Umar Gul: making good progress in his rehabilitation

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Pakistan seamer Umar Gul is targeting a return to competitive cricket after a knee injury that has sidelined him for more than six months.

Gul sustained the injury during the second ODI against South Africa at Centurion in March, subsequently undergoing surgery in Australia in May.

Since then he has been undergoing an intensive rehabilitation programme in Lahore.

"I'm pretty optimistic of getting back the rhythm as I feel fine at the moment," Gul told Dawn.

"It is just that there is no competition at present to find out the actual status of my fitness. 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.

"I am yearning to play some matches to test myself. Although I have trained during rehabilitation and then bowling in the nets, one can't aspire to judge both the level of fitness and form if there is no competitive sort of matches."

Pakistan will shortly name their squad for next month's Test series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates, although that is likely to be too soon for Gul to return to international action.