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Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi is banking on ageing fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar to come up triumphs for his side in their bid to lift the World Cup trophy for the first time in nearly two decades.

Afridi said Akhtar is working hard on his fitness and hoping to give his best in what could be his last World Cup. “Let me tell you that Akhtar is working really, really hard because he wants to be at his best in the World Cup. In terms of fitness, Shoaib may be a bit down but he is totally committed and is improving day by day,” Afridi said.

“I won’t be surprised if he is back at his brilliant best at the World Cup,” he said ahead of Pakistan’s first warm-up game against Bangladesh at Mirpur today.

Afridi, however, rubbished the notion that Pakistan are going to the World Cup with a weakened pace attack and said his fast bowlers are capable of coming out with flying colors. Pakistan’s pace attack, to be spearheaded by Akhtar, includes Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Abdul Razzaq and rookie pacer Junaid Khan, who replaced an unfit left arm Pacer Sohail Tanveer in the 15-member squad.

Pakistan play England at Fatahullah on Friday in their second warm-up game before starting their World Cup campaign against Kenya in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, on February 23.

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