‘Injury prone’ Akhtar keeping 2011 World Cup firmly in sight

Karachi: Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who is poised to make his return to international cricket in the two Twenty20 games against England, is eyeing a ODI comeback during the 2011 World Cup.

According to sources, Shoaib is working hard on his fitness, and wants to play in the mega tournament to be staged in the Indian subcontinent before announcing his retirement.

The 34-year-old was overlooked for the Test series against Australia and England, but was part of the team that played two Twenty20 games against Australia.

Earlier, last month, Pakistan`s fitness trainer David Dwyer had said that Shoaib was an integral part of the national team`s ODI and Twenty20 plans.

"Shoaib has lost a lot of weight and that`s encouraging. He`s definitely not in peak fitness and can`t be compared to the fast-bowlers like Mitchell Johnson and James Anderson as these guys are fit and able to cope with the demands of Test cricket. However, it will take time as it gets more difficult to maintain those fitness levels as life progresses," The Daily Times quoted Dwyer, as saying.

Dwyer also stressed that Shoaib needed to persist with his training programme to seek improvements.

"The onus has got to come from Shoaib himself. With every performance, the mind may tick over and ask him if he wants to keep doing it. And for that, he needs to come up with the discipline that yes, he wants to strive for higher levels and keep playing international cricket," he added.

Shoaib was earlier recalled for the Asia Cup, which was played in Sri Lankan from June 15-24.

However, his injuries had forced the PCB to overlook him for a number of important assignments, including the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup in England, the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa and the twin tours of New Zealand and Australia.