Ex-Pak greats differ on Shoaib Akhtar's chances of making international comeback

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Karachi, Apr.23 (ANI): 'Scandalous' Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar might be itching for a come back on the international stage yet again and has declared himself fully fit, but former players are doubtful whether the erstwhile tearaway pacer would be able to cope with the challenges especially when age is not on his side.

Akhtar, 34, took an impressive six-wicket haul in the ongoing domestic tournament earlier this week, which has certainly compelled the national selectors to take notice.

Following his fine performance in the Pentagular Cup, Akhtar said he wants Pakistan to do well in the 2011 World Cup, and help his side in the campaign.

"I am fit and bowling in rhythm. I know I have suffered fitness problems but all fast bowlers suffer with that. I am still focused and want to play for Pakistan and finish on a high," Akhtar said.

However, former fast bowler Sarfaraz Nawaz is unsure whether ageing Akhtar, who played his last Test match in January 2007 against India, would be ever recalled in the national squad.

"He still needs to bowl at least 50 to 60 more overs to prove that he is fully fit. We will have to see how his body responds to more hard work in the coming matches. We will have to see whether he can continue bowling with the same speed," Nawaz said.

He said that Akhtar might suffer another injury during the ongoing domestic one-day tournament.

"It's a tough task for a fast bowler to come back at the age of 34 which is why I won't be surprised if Shoaib misses any future matches due to some injury or even mere stiffness," Nawaz said.

However, chief selector Mohsin Khan appeared optimistic of Akhtar's chances of making a comeback.

"The best part about Shoaib and his latest comeback bid is that he appears to be really positive. He is really disciplined on the field. He is working hard and appears to be really focused. I'm getting really good vibes from him," The News quoted Khan, as saying.

When asked whether the selection committee would consider Akhtar's name if he is declared fully fit, Khan said he would love to have a 'match-winner' like him back in the Pakistan team provided he continues to bowl well and prove his fitness.

"I have no likes and dislikes. I just want players who are fit, in good form and with a clean chit as far as discipline is concerned," Khan added. (ANI)

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