Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, is confident that injured fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif will recover in time for the first match of the World Cup against West Indies on March 13.
"We will receive doctors' report on their injuries within the next two days," Inzamam told AP. "We will be going via London and they could join the team from there." But he added that Pakistan's chances of winning the World Cup would decrease if the two players did not recover in time.
Shoaib and Asif are currently in England for medical check-ups and were not present for the dope tests conducted by the board on the players in the World Cup squad. Shoaib had pulled out of Pakistan's tour to South Africa after he picked up a hamstring injury during the second Test at Port Elizabeth. Asif, who played the entire tour, is carrying an elbow injury.
The two had tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone in October when the board tested players before the Champions Trophy. They were both handed bans from international cricket but in an unexpected turn of events a drugs tribunal, appointed by the board, reversed the judgement in December on account of the fact that the players were able to prove "exceptional circumstances" for taking the drug.
Pakistan were beaten by South Africa in the Test and one-dayers after several of their players - Shoaib, Shabbir Ahmed, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami - suffered injuries half way through the tour. Inzamam said that the defeat to South Africa had not dented the confidence of the side and if they played a full strength side they could beat any team at the World Cup. "For me the goal is to win the World Cup," he said. "Our team is a balanced one and I have a lot of confidence in it to do well."