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ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP

June 7, 2019

Gulbadin Naib

Taunton, England, UK

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Gulbadin Naib.

Q. You had a setback yesterday with Mohammad Shahzad being ruled out. He's quite an influential player on your team. What's the mood like now without him being available?
GULBADIN NAIB: Obviously it's a big loss of our side. So, Shahzad is one of -- a great player for Afghanistan. He did a lot of -- I'm also upset of him -- he, the last two, three weeks he's struggling, his knee. So he's not feeling well also in the matches. He can't moving on the right time.

So I also kept him, last two weeks, just I checked with my doctor, with my physio. So I gave the time to him. So if he recover on the time, maybe it's good for the team. But unfortunately it's a bad luck of Shahzad.

So I'm really upset of him. So we lost him. But it's cricket. So first it's important, as a team, is also coming of Afghanistan, so what's important for Afghanistan. So hope he will recover soon so he will come back on the team. But the new guy's coming, Ikram Ali Khil, under-19 guy. He's very well. He's a young guy and I hope he will do well.

Q. Apart from Shahzad's batting and his keeping, what will you miss obviously being with the team for such a long time, got a lot of experience and seems to be a pretty lively character on the team as well? What will you miss in the dressing room?
GULBADIN NAIB: Yes, Shahzad is very energetic. Also in the dressing room he's very funny. Also he entertains every time the team members. So we miss a lot of things of him especially in the ground even. But obviously when you look for your country, it's more important for your country, so what's the best for the country. So we should go for that.

So I think Shahzad is one of the best players in Afghanistan now still, but his last four, eight, six years, but we miss a lot of things of him. I'm really upset for him, but his injury, so we cannot say if he recover on the time. So he's taking a lot of time. So I'm really upset for him.

Q. When you look back on the Sri Lanka match now are there positives you can take from how well you bowled, or is the overriding feeling disappointment that you couldn't quite adjust on the total?
GULBADIN NAIB: If you look at the last game against Sri Lanka, we missed a lot of things on the start of the match and also starting our innings on the batting side. So what we need, just need a good start, like, if you bowl or if you bat. So we keep momentum of 10 hours on the start of, if you batted or if you bowling.

So that's the main thing. But if you do like this stuff so maybe it's easy for us for playing a 50-overs game. So we take the lot of things from the last game with Sri Lanka. One time it looked like we were in the game. So then me and Najib batted really well, just -- we think just Sri Lanka is going down. So after it's like a champion side so great team. So this is -- Sri Lanka is also, they never let you go like -- but we take a lot of things. Hope we carry on our momentum in the upcoming matches.

Q. New Zealand looked vulnerable against the spin in the match against Bangladesh. How does that play into your game plan?
GULBADIN NAIB: Nothing planned for New Zealand. We just have to look for the condition and the ground and also the surface. So it's totally different. It's not like issue, lack of (indiscernible) or something. So we look for the turn for tomorrow. If you have like three spinners, best spinners in the world now recently Afghanistan have. So we're just looking for the -- if we could support spinners or maybe it's very difficult for any team, not only New Zealand. But the plan is that -- the plan is that. So also I'm giving to the boys display your initial game and go for your best and just play 50 overs games. If you played 50 overs maybe it's totally different for any team.

Q. Although Afghanistan lost to Australia, there have been plenty of positives been said about your side. What are the kind of positives you're taking forward ahead of tomorrow's encounter?
GULBADIN NAIB: Definitely if you're playing these kind of teams, especially Australia, a good side. So one thing we take with Australia is like the boys have slight pressure with bowlers, like starts, comes in really fast. And we played them really well at the start of the innings and after and we score a good total on the board. But we also missed 11 hours in that match.

So I think now everyone is just thinking the cricket is the same so it's only names. If you go with the names, maybe it's very difficult. If you go with the ball or the bat, maybe it's very easy. So this is the main thing for now; we're taking with the Australia game.

So now Insha Allah I hope we'll do best cricket. So we're trying to do best for the next match. So Insha Allah, if you do well the, start of the day, so Insha Allah, the result would be different.

Q. How important is the job between Rashid Khan and Kane Williamson here given they both played at Sunrisers Hyderabad?
GULBADIN NAIB: It's very difficult, the last two seasons, between Rashid and Kane Williamson playing together in Sunrisers. But Rashid is not like the other bowlers. It's totally different. He was, the last four years, with the national team, but even then nobody knows how he bowled in the nets. So it's very difficult to pick him. I think it's not only for Kane, also it is difficult for our players, too. It's difficult for our batsmen and we're playing against him in the nets. Rashid is very different, quick and fast. Didn't give you time to pick him. So I think it's very difficult. So I hope Rashid will be do best before he did.

Q. Now you've played the team that won last time and you're going to play the team that also reached the final the runners up. How different has this experience and this campaign been for the squad compared to your trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2015?
GULBADIN NAIB: It's totally different now. We played in 2015 World Cup is our first World Cup for Afghanistan. So it's totally different. And high stage. Beginning of cricket. We just think the times, it's a big honour for Afghanistan who is participating in this kind of events.

And now in this workup, it's totally changed everything. Now we improve day-by-day. Our ticket is going day-by-day up. So here we're not just to participate in the World Cup or -- so we we're here for doing something different and we show to the world so Afghanistan is not like 2015 team.

And I think you saw in the first few games, like, against Pakistan also and against Australia. Now Afghanistan, it was totally different now. So we have also like world-class players and the team in our side. So you have world-class batsmen now. So we're trying to do best cricket here and show to the world so Afghanistan not like a 2015 World Cup where we are. Now we're here so it's totally different, I think. Afghanistan team is totally different.

Q. The New Zealand attack with Matt and -- Matt Henry and Trent Boult has been creating a lot of trouble. Comment on that, is there any specific plans you're working at in terms of the base attack of New Zealand?
GULBADIN NAIB: Nothing planned for them. So I think the bowl is not that much fast. So my plan for the boys just play for a natural game and just go for who we are now, why we are here. So just go for your natural -- don't look for the names, just play for your cricket, just play with the ball. So I think if you survive 10, 15 hours maybe it's totally different in the end of the day.

So they have plenty of experience and visual insights. So Trent Boult and also Henry and the other guys, they have much, much experience. But we look forward for playing our natural game and for like the Afghan way. So we shall do our best for game day.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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