| GEO Sports|
| Akhtar vows his fitness will silence all critics|
| Updated at: 1852 PST, Wednesday, July 08, 2009|
KARACHI: Injury-prone paceman Shoaib Akhtar said Wednesday he wants to return to international cricket in the one-day series against Sri Lanka after missing out on Pakistan's World Twenty20 triumph, adding he does not fear criticism and will gag the mouths of critics with his form and fitness.
The 33-year-old was withdrawn a week before the start of the World Twenty20 last month -- which Pakistan won by beating Sri Lanka -- after a doctor said the player was suffering from genital viral warts.
"It was a heartbreak missing out on Pakistan's World T20 success, but that's in the past now and I want to play the one-day series against Sri Lanka," Akhtar said.
"I have attained full fitness and have been gaining rhythm in bowling. I hope to stage a comeback in the one-day series against Sri Lanka, if I am selected," he added.
Akhtar managed to play just four Twenty20 matches last year, and the controversial fast bowler's 12-year career has been plagued by injuries and disciplinary problems.
After serving a ban for publicly criticising the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the board allowed Akhtar to play at the international level and included him in the three-match one-day series against the West Indies last November.
But he was again sidelined with a hamstring injury and only returned for two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka earlier this year, before being dropped because of poor performance.
Pakistan's interim chief selector Wasim Bari said the team for the one-day series against Sri Lanka will be announced next week.
"I will tour Sri Lanka to consult captain Younus Khan and coach Intikhab Alam who will give their feedback on the players," Bari said.
"Akhtar's return will be based on his fitness, which we will assess, provided he is wanted by the team management."
Bari said Akhtar and fellow paceman Mohammad Asif will also be considered for the preliminary squad for September-October Champions Trophy in South Africa.
"Asif's ban will expire on September 22, two days before the Trophy starts, so he will be considered for the squad, and Akhtar will also be considered once he proves his fitness," said Bari.
Asif, like Akhtar, has also been plagued by on and off-field problems. He is currently serving a one-year ban imposed after he failed a dope test during the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League last year.