Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board is confident that experienced pace bowler Umar Gul will make a comeback in the forthcoming series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates that begins in mid October.
"Gul has started training from at the national cricket academy which means he is now bowling and training with the other players which is the final phase of his rehabilitation program," a official told PTI on Thursday.
Gul, 29, has been out of action since playing in South Africa early this year due to a knee surgery.
The pacer was flown to Melbourne in May by the board to undergo a knee surgery after he complained of pain and swelling in his right knee during the South Africa tour where he missed the final Test and played in only two ODIs before returning home.
The pacer, who has taken 163 wickets in 47 Tests and 161 in 116 ODIs besides being the most successful bowler in T20 internationals with 74 wickets in 52 games, was told to undergo a six to eight-week rehabilitation program after recovering from his surgery which was carried out by a well-known Australian orthopedic surgeon.
"Gul today bowled in the nets around five overs and also trained and jogged and he is being constantly monitored by our medical panel," the official said.
"We are confident that he will be available for the South Africa series as his experience is invaluable to the national team," he added.
Sources said that Gul had trained and then bowled to Younis Khan, Azhar Ali and Adnan Akmal who will be part of the Test squad in Zimbabwe.
The official said that after the team returns from the ongoing tour in Zimbabwe, all the players will be put through a proper fitness test and training program at the NCA before they start the next international home season in October.
"Since it is going to be a long season the board has decided to carry out proper fitness tests of all players and we are hopeful that Gul will also clear these tests," he added.
He said there was a possibility that Pakistan could play a short bilateral One-day series in Bangladesh.