A day after Shoaib Akhtar demanded an explanation from the cricket authorities for his ouster, Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer on Wednesday spelt out the conditions for the fast bowler to make a comeback into the national team.
"The selectors have said it quite categorically that he has to get fit and should bowl 25-25 overs in both the innings of a five-day game," Woolmer said at the airport in Karachi shortly before his departure to Dubai on way to Antigua, where the Pakistan team opens its tour of the West Indies with a one-day practice match on May 15.
"[After he achieves that] obviously we will be very happy to have him back," said Woolmer.
Shoaib was called halfway through the Australian tour with a hamstring injury that forced him to pull out of the tour of India later.
Shoaib, 29, played in two 50-over-a-side and three Twenty20 Cup matches in the domestic circuit but has yet to make an appearance in the longer version of the game.
However, Shoaib's exclusion has become a mystery in world cricket as the Pakistan Cricket Board and the team management have come up with contradictory statements.
Shoaib, who is one of the Pakistan cricketers in the ICC probables' list for October's Super Test and one-day series against Australia, expressed anger and frustration on Tuesday when he demanded an explanation for his exclusion.
Woolmer also contradicted the statement of skipper Inzamam-ul Haq, who had told reporters that if Shoaib regains fitness, he could be called up for the Test matches in the Carribbean.
"I can't see that possibility because it is a very short tour," the Pakistan coach said.
Woolmer, who was born in Kanpur but played for England and is now settled in South Africa, said Inzamam's suspension from the Barbados Test can tempt the team management to award a Test cap to young Bazid Khan, whose grandfather Jahangir Khan played Tests for India while his father Majid Khan and two uncles, Javed Burki and Imran Khan, captained Pakistan.
"Obviously Inzamam is a fine player and he has been captaining very well. So, it's not an ideal situation. However, it is an opportunity for young Bazid Khan to show his mettle and for Younis Khan to know how to handle things in Test matches.
"So, after adversity come some positives," Woolmer said.
The former Test opener said West Indies' recent performance did give his team a good opportunity to win their first series in the Caribbean in 48 years. But he still gave both the teams a 50-50 chance in the two-Test series to be played at Barbados and Jamaica.
"It [West Indies' recent performance against South Africa] gives us a better chance but we can't let that go because they have got to try and recover from their performance which means that they will be trying even harder.