Pallekele (Sri Lanka), March 10 (IANS) Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi is a worried man after the 110-run loss to New Zealand and is using the five-day gap to regroup the side ahead of their World Cup Group A clash here Monday against Zimbabwe.
Pakistan made a good start in the tournament but fumbled on their way to a 46-run win over Canada last week and then crashed to a huge defeat against New Zealand. A win against Zimbabwe will assure them of a berth in the last eight.
“We are worried because the team hasn’t played well in the last two matches. But I believe that now it is the time to show what we are capable of,” said Afridi here Thursday.
“It is true that we played poorly against New Zealand but what has happened has happened. It might backfire if I start scolding the players. I believe the right thing to do is to talk to the players and give them confidence and that’s what I plan to do,” stressed the leg-spinner, who is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 15 scalps.
Afridi, 31, plans to use the gap to rally his team in a bid to ensure that they win convincingly against the African side ahead of their last Group A game against Australia March 19 in Colombo.
“We can’t panic,” he said. “We have five days to regroup and we have to make it sure that we make good use of this break.”
Afridi said that Pakistan need a forceful showing against Zimbabwe to regain their confidence. “The thing is that when the team is winning, everything seems fine. But a few bad results can change all that. We have to assure that the boys don’t lose focus and to do that we have to win our next match in a convincing manner.”
Commenting on the defeat against New Zealand, Afridi admitted that Kamran Akmal’s poor wicket-keeping cost Pakistan the match.
“He (Kamran) dropped Ross Taylor twice when he had just arrived at the crease and those mistakes proved to be too costly for us.”
But the seasoned all-rounder was quick to add that Kamran was not the only one responsible for the loss.
“Our bowlers performed poorly in the last ten overs. There was some reverse swing but Shoaib and Razzaq bowled too many full tosses to allow New Zealand to take the game away from us.”
He also lamented the fact that openers Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad are going through a lean patch.
“The lack of form shown by the openers is worrying us now and we have to find a way to fix this problem.”
Afridi didn’t rule out the option of bringing in Asad Shafiq as an opener in the match against Zimbabwe. “It is certainly an option for us,” he said.