Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi believes his players are now “settled” ahead of their ICC Cricket World Cup opener against Kenya in Hambantota.
The 30-year-old all-rounder admitted it had been hard to keep the team in the right frame in the wake of the spot-fixing allegations that dogged their tour of England, but reckons they are now back on track.
“It was difficult to keep the team settled in the beginning when we had all those issues,” he said.
“We had to rebuild the team but now a situation has come that our team is settled.
“We now have such a combination that people have hopes that this team can do something.”
He added of Wednesday’s unfancied opponents: “I love Kenya and Kenyans.
“I don’t think we will be relaxed when we face them. I would like to be playing at our full strength.”
Despite the suspensions of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir for their involvement in the spot-fixing controversy, the Pakistan side still oozes class with bat and ball and, with Afridi rested from the last warm-up game, he should be fit and firing on Wednesday.
The 1992 champions should be mindful of overconfidence heading into the clash, though, after their 2007 campaign ended in controversy and tragedy following their group-stage loss to Ireland and the death of coach Bob Woolmer.
After a 10-wicket humbling at the hands of New Zealand in their opening game on Sunday, Kenya will be desperate to prove they are capable of being competitive at this World Cup.
But, with limited assets at his disposal, coach Eldine Baptiste is likely to stick with the same line-up tomorrow.
Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande says his team are ready for the challenge of facing Pakistan and is hoping for a better performance than two days ago.
He told www.cricket-kenya.com: “We are not changing much. All we need to do is keep focused and give our best tomorrow against Pakistan.
“Once the World Cup starts there is always not much time between games.
“However, we have had two years of preparation before the tournament started, and all we need to do now is to sort ourselves out mentally.”by Espnstar.