Afridi backs under-fire Akmal brothers
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi continued to back the under-fire Akmal brothers, insisting that both Kamran and Umar would be part of the playing eleven in Monday's Group A World Cup match against Zimbabwe, in Pallekele, Sri Lanka.
Kamran is struggling as wicketkeeper and dropped crucial catches during Pakistan's 110-run loss to New Zealand in their previous group match.
There were calls to drop him but his only possible replacement Umar ended up hurting his finger in a practice session, leading to a bit of off-field drama as well over whether the injury was genuine.
Image: Umar Akmal puts ice on his foot during a practice session ahead of Monday's World Cup match against Zimbabwe
'Kamran has our support and confidence'
But Afridi cleared the air, saying Umar has recovered and both the brothers will play on Monday.
"He (Umar) is fit; it is a light injury. He fielded today and looked better, so definitely he will play tomorrow," said Afridi.
"Kamran's performance in batting hasn't been bad but, yes, he is struggling with his keeping. He is working very hard, and we haven't got such an option in the squad to whom we can give a chance in this tournament.
"Kamran has been working hard for four days. He has our support and confidence, he seems a better choice. I think he knows the mistakes he has committed and he will try to cover it for sure and will perform," he added.
Image: Kamran Akmal goes through a wicket-keeping drill during a practice session
'Focusing on day by day, game by game'
Asked how the mood in the dressing room is, Afridi replied: "We are just focusing on day by day and game by game, and if we win against Zimbabwe the dressing room atmosphere will be better and positive. A win always gives you confidence.
"At the moment our plan is not to lose wickets and be positive. I have already told them [players] to play to your strengths, like you play in domestic cricket, play like that.
"Over the last couple of days the openers have worked really hard and the coaches have worked hard with them as well. The results will, hopefully, come and realising the importance of the match I am confident that they will perform," said Afridi.
Image: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi (R) laughs after tackling coach Waqar Younis (C) during a practice session