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Pakistan continue to be dogged by injury concerns in the lead-up to their defence of the World Twenty20 crown, as Umar Gul remains a doubtful starter for the tournament that begins in the West Indies from April 30.

Gul, who was Pakistan's top wicket-taker in the previous editions of the tournament, is yet to recover from a shoulder injury he sustained during the team's rigorous preparatory camp in Lahore.

"We are still awaiting word from the experts on Gul and that whether he would be able to play in the Twenty20 World Cup," Shahid Afridi, the team's captain, told the News.

"I hope he gets fit and manages to go with us to the West Indies. He is a top performer in Twenty20 cricket and has done a great job for the team in the last two World Cups. We would certainly need him in the West Indies because the conditions would really help him get a lot of reverse swing there," Afridi said.

Gul is currently the leading wicket-taker in Twenty20 cricket, with 43 wickets in 26 matches, and he was a key factor in Pakistan's victory in the 2009 edition. He is not the only player struggling for fitness - batsmen Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam are nursing injuries while allrounder Yasir Arafat is laid low by a calf strain.

Pakistan are slated to play Bangladesh and Australia in the league phase, on May 1st and 2nd respectively.

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