Shoaib Akhtar Working Hard to Revive International Career

Karachi, Aug 9 (IANS): Pakistan's discarded fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar is yet to give up hopes of reviving his international career and is eyeing a spot in the country's squad for next year's World Cup.

Sources close to the enigmatic pacer told IANS that Shoaib is working hard on his fitness and wants to play in the 2011 World Cup before saying goodbye to the game.

Shoaib was overlooked for the Test series against Australia and England after featuring in two Twenty20 Internationals against Australia in England earlier this summer.

Known as the Rawalpindi Express, Shoaib is trying to keep himself fit by playing occasional matches in Lahore. On Sunday, he featured in an exhibition Twenty20 match in Lahore and picked up a wicket for 38 in four overs.

Last month, a Pakistan team official said that Shoaib was an integral part of Pakistan's one-day and T20 plans.

"Shoaib has lost a lot of weight and that's encouraging," Pakistan's fitness trainer David Dwyer said in an interview.

"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'll take time as it gets more difficult to maintain those fitness levels as life progresses."

Dwyer said that Shoaib's training programme has been altered as he was making his return after a long absence but reminded him that it was up to the individual to maintain the routine and persist with the 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 concluded.


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