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Kamran confident ahead of India clash

ISLAMABAD: Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal reckons that the experience of playing in India will see him in good stead when Pakistan take on the hosts in the World Cup semifinal on Wednesday. “I will continue to play positive cricket and I have enough experience of the pressures that come with playing India in India. So I am mentally prepared for this battle,” Kamran was quoted as saying. He said that the team too, was mentally prepared to face India. “The boys know how important this encounter is in many ways and not just as a qualifier for the World Cup final. It is great being back in India,” he said. The flashy opener also declared that he was not bothered by all the media criticism against him, and was just focussing on the India match.

“To me nothing is more important than this semifinal against India. Neither do I read newspapers nor watch television channels. The media can write or say what they want to about me but I am not bothered because I know I still have a lot to offer to Pakistan cricket,” Kamran said. The experienced campaigner has been under fire for his inconsistent performances behind the stumps and with the bat in the World Cup. He scored his first half-century of the tournament against the West Indies in the quarterfinal but his keeping has left a lot to be desired. The keeper’s awful outing against New Zealand in the league phase when he dropped Ross Taylor twice in one over, led to calls for his ouster from the team, but Kamran remains unperturbed.

“I don’t think my performances are going downhill. I have been doing well in recent times and every player has his ups and downs. But I always] think positive and know I can deliver for the country,” he said. The keeper said that after the New Zealand game the team management and players had supported him a lot. “It was their encouragement that got me through a rough time. I want to repay the confidence the management has reposed in me,” he said. Kamran pointed out that his career had had its ups and downs but he always played like a team-man.

“I have no issues batting at any position and I don’t let the pressure get to me. I play my freestyle cricket because that is how I have been successful. I can’t afford to let the media pressure get to mem,” he added. Kamran also said that he enjoyed opening with Muhammad Hafeez, with whom he shares a great understanding. “We play a lot together in domestic cricket and that has helped us develop a good understanding while batting together. He is a stabilising influence at the crease and keeps on telling me where I am going wrong,” he concluded.