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ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP

June 6, 2019

Grant Flower

Bristol, Gloucestershire, UK

Q. Grant, you are probably into your sixth year of tenure. How do you describe Pakistan's batting? 105 to 348, was it bad day to good day, or inconsistency?
GRANT FLOWER: It's my fifth year. I would say it's a bit of a both. Yeah, we didn't adapt well to the conditions against West Indies. Technically, we were a bit poor on the day. And I think there were a lot of nerves being the first World Cup match definitely. Then the guys got over that against England and they showed their proper skills and it was a true test of character. And I think they came through with flying colours in the second game.

Q. Grant, the Pakistani media is reporting that you are leaving after this World Cup, is it true?
GRANT FLOWER: No, that's not my choice. That was fake news. I don't know where that came from (smiling).

Q. You want to continue after the World Cup?
GRANT FLOWER: I'd like to, but I suppose it's all dependent on the results.

Q. I just have a question about this young batting line-up that has scored 350 plus all through England, the series and still not won matches. How do you keep batsmen -- I have got two questions. How do you keep batsmen interested in what they are doing because they are not getting the results that they want. They have played so many games. Other than the one win that you have just had, leading up to that, big scores, 350 and so on, but no wins. How do you keep the batsmen saying look, this is what you have to do, this is your job?
GRANT FLOWER: Well, if their job is to score runs, and to get those scores of 350, they are doing their job. So, you just got to ask them to keep repeating it and keep doing the hard training and putting in the hours in the nets and executing the skills under pressure. And then, hopefully, the bowlers and the fielders will get it right to back that up. But unfortunately, that didn't happen in quite a few of the games against England, in the bilateral series.

Q. And if we can have a comment from you about Babar Azam and the fact he plays in the No 3 spot, in which he has to be able to sort of be the anchor through the innings, but at the same time then if you are having collapses, is that -- does that lend itself to some kind of anxiety in his batting? Or do you think that he's an old-style player who may have to change his game slightly to be able to play like a hitter at the end because of the range of skills that he has?
GRANT FLOWER: Yeah, I think he's come a long way. I think his game is improving all the time. And so is his strike rate. And I think he's going to develop even more.

But I think he's close to being at the top of his game and, you know, he is really exciting to watch and, obviously, it is up to the other guys to bat around him at times. They all got different roles. But I think Babar is really exciting and he is going to be one of the best players in the world.

Q. Grant, you have obviously played a few World Cups yourself. Are you a fan of this format? Everyone plays everyone, sort of going -- it's not happened since 1992?
GRANT FLOWER: Yeah, it's obviously a bit unlucky on the associate teams, but obviously, you know, each game is so important, so there are no free games, or easy games, so it is exciting to watch. And just speaking to the public, I think they do enjoy this, but I think it is quite tough on the associate teams, but unfortunately I suppose that is one of those things.

Q. What sort of challenge are you expecting from Sri Lanka? And who do you see as their key men?
GRANT FLOWER: Well, you have always got to be respectful and they have got good bowlers. I have just come out of a batting meeting to see their skills. And it should be a good game. And hopefully the weather stays away, it is a bit poor, the forecast. But I don't think we'd be targeting any one individual, though they have got some good seamers and some spinners with very good skills. So the guys are fully focussed and they know what to expect.

Q. If you could talk a bit about the confidence and the mood of the boys after their big win. What has it done to them? What have they done since then? And what has it changed after particularly that win against England?
GRANT FLOWER: Yeah, I definitely do sense quite a bit of confidence, especially, like, in the meeting we had this morning. Since we have won, well it took off a lot of the pressure definitely, having gone through those string of defeats. Psychologically, that lifts a huge weight from their shoulders.And to score 350 against a very good England attack, the guys are relieved. And so they had a day off, a travel day, and then yesterday an optional net for some of the players and so, hopefully, we are going to get a good afternoon's practice today and then can go and show their skills again tomorrow.

Q. Are you happy with the balance of the side having left out Imad Wasim last time and gone with Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik to bowl those overs? Are you confident with that formula from hereon, do you think?
GRANT FLOWER: I think so, for the time being. I don't have a say in selection. I'm sure it will be the same team tomorrow. We wanted to take some pace off the ball against England and Mohammad Hafeez and Malik did that really well, sharing the overs. And so it worked well then. And it might be a bit different tomorrow with very short boundaries straight, but hopefully -- we have played a few games here already so the guys know what to expect and can adapt to different conditions.

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