Inzamam-ul-Haq is confident Pakistan will regain their form in next month's World Cup but says it will depend on the availability of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif.
The Pakistan captain told reporters on his arrival from South Africa that his team would bounce back strongly after suffering a drubbing in the recently-concluded one-day series.
"But I believe the availability of Shoaib and Asif would be very important in our World Cup campaign, we really need them," Inzamam said.
Shoaib and Asif, who tested positive for banned anabolic steroid nandrolone last October, are in Pakistan's 15-man World Cup squad but remain doubtful for the tournament scheduled to be played in the Caribbean from March 13 to April 28.
The pace duo has to clear dope tests being carried out internally by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and may still be in danger of an international ban during the World Cup where the International Cricket Council (ICC) plans to implement target testing.
"Shoaib and Asif are our key bowlers and we have no suitable replacements for them in case they are not available for the World Cup," added Inzamam.
The PCB is carrying out dope tests of its World Cup-bound players, the results of which should come out by the end of this month. Inzamam was hopeful that the dope-tainted fast bowlers and other team members would clear the dope tests. "I am confident that all the players including Shoaib and Asif will clear these tests," said Inzamam.
Quite apart from the dope tests, the fitness of the two is also under question. Shoaib has just returned from London where a troublesome knee underwent scans and Asif is said to be suffering from an elbow problem following a tour of South Africa where he was burdened with a heavy workload.
"Injuries to key players is a major issue for us," said Inzamam. "Our international schedule has been very tough and has left some of our players injured and the others very exhausted," he added.
"I have confidence in my boys, they just need to apply themselves and work harder to improve their performance," he explained.
Inzamam agreed that Pakistan have failed to find a good opening pair ahead of the World Cup but added that they have no time to work on a different combination.
"There are just a few weeks left and we will have to rely on the available openers because there is simply no time to prepare new ones," he said.
Pakistan have selected Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir as their openers in the squad but both had poor series in South Africa.