Karachi: It`s not just skipper Shahid Afridi, coach Waqar Younis also has his hopes pinned on speed merchant Shoaib Akhtar to deliver the goods for Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup.
Reacting to remarks made by former captain Imran Khan that the hot and humid weather in Sri Lanka would be a big test for Akhtar and that he would need energy injections, Waqar said the pacer was working hard on his fitness.
"I don`t think he needs any injections now. Because he is working very hard and is keen to do well in this World Cup," Waqar told reporters in Mirpur, Bangladesh while referring to Imran`s remarks.
"Our entire focus is on the World Cup and we have come here to win. Everyone knows what is expected of him and it is a matter of the team clicking at the right time," Waqar said.
The former captain said that there would be no compromise on fitness and this would be the most important aspect for all participating teams.
"We are going to take no chances and the players have been told to work hard on their fitness. As for Shoaib he can play an important role for us in this World Cup as he is bowling at good pace," he said.
Pakistan play their first warm-up match against Bangladesh tomorrow and the coach said they were not taking their opponents lightly.
"Bangladesh cannot be underestimated at all. They have become a dangerous side in their own conditions and we will treat this match very seriously. I think Bangladesh cannot be taken lightly by any team in this World Cup. They have a good experienced side now," Waqar said.
He also said that the Pakistan team management had requested to play 12 players in the warm-up match, and it was waiting for approval.
Meanwhile, Akhtar made no bones of the fact that the World Cup was going to be lot of hard work for bowlers.
"The weather and the pitches in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are not easy and slow and pace bowlers will have to work really hard. I think dependence on reverse swing will be a big help on these sort of pitches," he said.
The fast bowler, who has been a regular member of the national one-day and T20 sides since last year, said that Bangladesh have the capacity to reach the semifinals.
"We are going to take our warm-up match against them very seriously and give our 100 per cent. They are not a side that can be taken lightly. It will be hard work against their batsmen," he said.