Pallekele: Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi on Thursday admitted that the team is suffering because of fumbling wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.  but insisted that he would not be dropped as a change would upset the side's balance in the ongoing World Cup.

"Kamran has done a lot of hard work for this World Cup, but he has not lived up to that level, and we suffered a lot after he couldn't perform," said Afridi.

"Kamran has won lots of matches for Pakistan in the past, he is a very talented cricketer, and I think we are at a stage where we shouldn't panic. There are other players who are not performing -- it's not only Kamran," the skipper said in defence of the struggling stumper whose misses proved costly in the 110-run loss to New Zealand in a group match.

Afridi said an off-colour player needs to be backed instead of dropped.

"We need to back them. If we make several changes we can face problems in future matches, so we will see if Kamran plays the next game or not. From my side, I think we should give Kamran confidence.

"He is a good player and we expect that he will do better."

Pakistan face Zimbabwe in their next group match on Monday and Afridi said the team needs to regroup quickly. He also pleaded with the Pakistani fans to be patient with the players.

"Because of the way we have batted, bowled and fielded everyone should get angry but then we have to forget this anger and we should have confidence for the next match," said the flamboyant all-rounder.

"Everyone realises that we have made big mistakes but if you look at Pakistan cricket over the last 50-60 years it's quite normal for our team."

Afridi also asked openers Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez to strike form as their continued poor show was putting a lot of pressure on the middle order.

"We are here with perfect openers and I don't think we can take a chance on Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez. But we might open with Kamran, that's one of the options," said Afridi.