Six weeks to go for Shoaib Akhtar~~s return

Published: Sunday, March 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Shoaib Akhtar has promised to return to international cricket within the next six weeks saying that there was nothing serious about his injury and reports which suggested that there was a degenerative disease in his right knee were ''incorrect''.

''I arrived back in Pakistan from Australia today after my knee surgery and the good news is that I should be at full fitness before our England tour. After four to six weeks I should be running and bowling again,'' Akhtar wrote in his column for a website.

''The story about me having a disease in the knees is incorrect; they just needed a flushing out and a general tidy up,'' he said.

The pacer said he has started his rehab programme and, which consisted of regular swimming and cycling. Akhtar said Dr David Young, who treated him, has assured that he could continue playing for another five to six years.

''Its all good news as David told me that I could carry on playing for another five or six years if I wanted to. The main problem was fluid and floating bone in my knees. He cleaned them up and told me it was caused by general wear and tear.'' Shoaib said he was hoping that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) would play him wisely and preserve for important tournaments like the World Cup.

''The PCB are aware that they need to be careful with how many matches I play so they are being sensible with my schedule and I know they will look after me as they have done with this injury.

They are going to save me for the most important matches like the England tour and the World Cup,'' he said.

The speedster said he would no longer play county cricket as remaining fit for playing for his country was far more important to him.

''I can safely say that my county cricket days are over. No more county cricket. Playing for Pakistan is my priority,'' he announced.

Shoaib also rejected suggestions that he would cut down on his pace to prolong his career and said the run-up and the speed would not change for anything in the world.

''Nothing is going to change. I will still be running in as hard as ever and trying to bowl fast. Thats what I do and thats what Im good at so it's pointless me bowling medium pace,'' he said.

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