Pakistan looking for confidence builder

Pallekele: Only a comprehensive victory over Zimbabwe will restore some of Pakistan`s lost self-belief in Monday`s World Cup Group A match in Kandy.

Ross Taylor battered them on Tuesday, hammering a 124-ball 131 to inflict on Pakistan a crushing 110-run defeat that continues to rankle the 1992 champions.

"We are trying to recover from our shaken confidence (with a win) in the next match against Zimbabwe," senior batsman Misbah ul Haq said.

"We are trying to get the basics right before the (March 19) Australia match."

One of the things they would like to fix at the earliest opportunity is Kamran Akmal`s dismal form behind the stumps that has made the diminutive wicketkeeper, who dropped Taylor twice, the butt of numerous jokes.

In his brother Umar, Pakistan had an alternative option but he is nursing a finger injury and the team management is unlikely to make him shoulder the additional wicketkeeping burden.

Misbah confirmed Umar has a swelling in the finger but team manager Intikhab Alam said it was not serious.

"He is perfectly all right. He was cleared after an X-ray and a scanning," Alam said.

"We just want to make sure that everything is okay. That`s why I sent him to get an X-ray and scan also."

The Pakistani batsmen would have to deal with Zimbabwe`s accurate spin attack which seems to have mastered the art of bringing down the run-rate and forcing opponents to court risk.

Zimbabwe`s batting order, however, looks brittle and against a Pakistan attack that will probably include Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and skipper Shahid Afridi, the Africans` task looks even tougher.

"Their bowling is more of a threat, to be honest," Zimbabwe opener Brendan Taylor said.

"They have shown that in this tournament. Afridi in the middle overs and the seamers up front have done a good job for them. Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul are bowling really well."

Bureau Report