Shoaib Akhtar, the Pakistan fast bowler, has said he wants to use the upcoming Pentangular one-day tournament as a launchpad for a return to international cricket, which he hasn't been a part of for nearly a year.
Earlier this week, he had been named in the Federal Areas team for the tournament starting on April 17. "I am thankful to the board for giving me this opportunity to prove myself again and I want to give it my best effort," he said.
Shoaib attributed to the below-par efforts in his past few series to a persistent knee problem, which has been corrected through surgery. "Now that the surgery has been done and the rehabilitation process has also gone well, I am back to my top fitness and the knee problem is no longer a hindrance in my giving my best on the field."
After being left out of the squad for the World Twenty20, he has set his sights on returning to the national team during the series against Australia, which will be hosted by England in July. "The England tour would be the perfect place for me to comeback as it has good conditions for bowling and the best facilities for a bowler coming back from an injury."
Shoaib's last appearance for Pakistan was last year, a wicketless outing in a Twenty20 international in Dubai against Australia. Since then fitness issues, the rise of Mohammad Aamer and the return of Mohammad Asif have eased him further out of national reckoning. He has not played a Test for Pakistan since December 2007.