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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 17:16 GMT
Saqlain still not ready to return
Saqlain Mushtaq
Saqlain played only one Test in last year's home series against India
Spin bowler Saqlain Mushtaq's hopes of being included in the Pakistan squad for the tour of India have been dashed by injury.

Saqlain, who has taken 208 wickets in 49 Tests, had hoped to return to action this month after surgery on both knees.

But he is still on crutches and is unlikely to play again before the tour squad is announced.

Pakistan will also be without fast bowler Umar Gul, who is recovering from three stress fractures in his back.

The 20-year-old was named Man of the Match after last year's Test in Lahore against India, when his 5-31 in the first innings helped pave the way to a nine-wicket win.

Gul's condition is being monitored by specialists in South Africa and they plan to carry out a further examination in June.

Pakistan are hopeful that pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami will be fit for the tour.

But Saqlain's absence means they must find another specialist spinner to support Danish Kaneria in the Tests, or rely on all-rounders like Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi.

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