Karachi:Controversial pacer Shoaib Akhtar will appear in Pakistan's premier first class tournament next month to prove his fitness for claiming a spot in the national team in the ODI series against New Zealand next month.
An official of the Islamabad Cricket Association, with whom Akhtar is close, confirmed that the beefy pacer would play for his department, Khan Research Laboratories, in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy beginning from October 10.
"Shoaib is keen to appear in the tournament and prove his match fitness to the selectors as he is targeting a return to the national team for the one-day series against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in October," the official said.
He said Akhtar, who has was dropped for the recent Test tour of Sri Lanka and has also been sidelined for the upcoming Champions Trophy, was keen to make the team for the Test series in New Zealand and Australia later in the year.
"He is working hard on his fitness and there is a welcome change in his attitude as well," Shakil Sheikh, who heads the association said.
Shoaib was recently pardoned by the Pakistan Cricket Board for having appeared on a television talk show without seeking permission of the board which is a violation of his central contract with them.
The pacer who has been at the centre of disciplinary and fitness controversies for the last two years and last played for Pakistan in the one-day series against Australia in May had apologised to the PCB for his "mistake."
"Captain Younis Khan has told the selectors he has no issues with having Shoaib in the team as long as he is fit and committed to give his best for the team," a PCB official said.
The 34-year-old pacer, who has appeared in 46 Tests and 144 one-day internationals, has been out of luck with selectors for the last three years because of his disciplinary and fitness record and has hardly played couple of matches in this period.
His last Test appearance was against India in late 2007 and he missed this year's Tests against Sri Lanka due to injury issues.
The enigmatic fast bowler recently accompanied former great Imran Khan for a charity function to Karachi and Imran advised him to focus totally on the last few years of his playing career to redeem himself as a senior player.