The Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said they may open with Kamran Akmal instead of Mohammad Hafeez to strengthen their batting order in the second match against Ireland on Sunday. The opening combination has been a worry for Pakistan in the last few months and they tried as many as nine pairs in the 20 matches leading up to the World Cup.
Imran Nazir scored 6 and Mohammad Hafeez 11 as Pakistan were beaten by 54 runs by West Indies on March 13. "Maybe Imran Nazir will continue to open, maybe Kamran Akmal could open and Hafeez will drop down," Woolmer told Reuters. "We have to try and mix and match the team so we have eight batsmen and six bowlers.
"The point is if you play Kamran in that position we need to fit in one other opener. When [Shahid] Afridi comes back maybe he will open." Akmal went in first in four ODIs on the tour of South Africa and scored only 22 runs.
Afridi, who is serving a four-match ICC ban, will be available for selection after the Ireland game. Pakistan are also missing Abdul Razzaq, who pulled out due to injury, and Woolmer said resources were being stretched.
"This is where someone like Razzaq would be good but we can't deal with things we haven't got," Woolmer said. "I'm sure Shahid would also be useful to us but he cannot play until the Zimbabwe game. So we have to deal with the team we have. We are very fluid but most of all we have to make sure that we get our strategies right on the field."