Shoaib aims to return for Bangladesh tour

Shoaib Akhtar has targeted the Bangladesh tour next month for his return to the Pakistan side after a knee injury ruled him out the two-Test series against Sri Lanka starting next week.

Shoaib said he will not require surgery on the knee, as was earlier suspected. "Doctors have advised me that the blood and pieces of bones in my knee could be removed through injections and there won't be any need for an operation," Shoaib told AFP. "I sent the MRI reports to Australia and England, and the advice was not to have an operation, so I hope to be back in action by next month."

Shoaib underwent a similar surgery in 2007 and subsequently missed the World Cup in West Indies.

Abdul Qadir, Pakistan's chief selector, said he would give Shoaib a fair hearing before deciding whether to pick the fast bowler for the ODIs in Bangladesh. "I've no knowledge of Shoaib's physical condition," Qadir told the News. "But I've all respect for him as he is a great fast bowler and deserves to be treated with respect. I will sit down with the player soon and will hear him out about his injury."

The only international cricket Shoaib played in 2008 were three matches in the Quadrangular T20 tournament in Canada in August. He served a disciplinary ban imposed by the Pakistan board and was then picked for the ODI series in Abu Dhabi against West Indies but wasn't selected in the playing XI for any of the games.

In 2009 so far he has played two one-dayers against Sri Lanka, conceding 88 runs in 13 overs for one wicket, which prompted his exclusion from the series decider. Since February 2006, he has played just three Tests and 11 ODIs.