Akhtar expects comeback in two months

Published: Thursday, March 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said that recent surgery on both of his knees would not hamper his career, adding that he was set to return in two months' time.

The 30-year-old had his knees operated on in Australia last month after being diagnosed with a degenerative disease. He missed Pakistan's one-day series against India in February and was ruled out of an ongoing tour of Sri Lanka.

"I have started light training and will be back in action on Pakistan's tour to England late June," Akhtar told AFP on Thursday.

Pakistan will play four Tests and five one-day internationals in England this summer.

Akhtar said that his operations went smoothly and vowed they would not shorten his much talked about long bowling run-up.

"The arthroscopy went well and now I have started upper body training and will start light cycling and swimming from next week. The operation won't curtail my run-up and won't have any affect on my bowling."

However, he said that he hoped to play only in selected matches in future.

"The Australian surgeon David Young feared the worst initially but after the operation he told me that my knees are stable and I can still play five to six years," Akhtar said.

"Now I want to play selected matches so that I can contribute to the best effect whenever I am on the field," said Akhtar, who has been plagued by injuries during his career.

Akhtar has missed 35 Tests out of Pakistan's 71 since he made his debut in 1997 but played all six Tests in Pakistan's last two home series since last November, against England and then India.

He took 17 wickets in Pakistan's 2-0 triumph over the Ashes-winning England side.

Akhtar said an ankle injury he recently picked up was also healing fast.

"The surgeon told me that my ankle injury would heal with time and it is healing fast. I am happy to learn from the surgeon that I have a stronger ankle than Brett Lee," he said, referring to his Australian pace rival.

Akhtar said fears the surgery could shorten his career were baseless.

"I heard people raising doubts over my career after the operations but I am hopeful that I can play for another five to six years," he added.

Akhtar said he was due to start bowling within three weeks and hoped to regain his rhythm by the end of next month.

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