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February 14, 2015

Misbah Ul-Haq


Q. How much pressure is this India match, and what have you told the boys from your experience on how to play such a big game in the World Cup?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Obviously India‑Pakistan is always all about pressure. The best thing we can do is just enjoy the game, enjoy the atmosphere, go there, play your game, be positive, and that's the way how it is. I think if you could just go there and play your natural game, that's how you can handle the pressure well, and that's my advice to the team.

Q. Given the track record of Pakistan in the World Cup, are you comfortable playing India first up, or would you have preferred the tournament to peak a little bit before taking them on?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: No, I think we already played a lot of games before the buildup, so you need to be ready to play against any team at any time if you really want to do well in any tournament. It's not really a question of playing India or any team up first. You need to be ready. Whenever any team comes against you, you should be ready to play well.

Q. One of your teammates, Younis, played domestic cricket here in South Australia for the Redbacks but it was a completely different looking stadium. Have you spoken to him about his time and what your thoughts are of the new stadium?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Obviously he's a senior lad, two years more experience playing in all conditions and throughout the world. He's always been a big help for me as a captain and a big help for the other teammates. Definitely he's just giving his input about this wicket and stadium.

Q. A lot goes on off the field in India‑Pakistan matches. Is it difficult with that rivalry not to take any sort of extra animosity onto the field?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: I don't know whether it's difficult or it's not difficult. It just varies person to person, but I think it is the way to go that you just don't take anything into the ground when you are playing against India. You don't have to worry about what's happening outside, what's going on in the countries. I think you need to focus on your game, go there, and play your best.

Q. What kind of problems will it create that a senior player like Hafeez and Junaid, they are out with injuries? Does it really hit the team?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Obviously senior players, experienced players and good performers are key to your team's success, but this is how life goes on. You need to replace people when there is injury. Unfortunately injuries are part and parcel of your life and games especially. You should just focus on what you've got, and you need to believe that whatever you've got, that is the best, and I think that's what we are thinking.

Q. Just taking off on that, the absence of Hafeez, how much of a responsibility would be on someone like Shehzad, and a word on how he's matured as a player over the last one year? And a lot of former cricketers have said that this battle between India and Pakistan is either won or lost in the dressing rooms because there's so much that either of the teams take with them. Is that true from your experience, from your side?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Regarding your first question, I think everybody needs to just focus on his own game. Don't worry about who is here, who is not here, who we are missing. That's the only way to just go about your own performances. And the second one, it is; it is about pressure and it is about the dressing room and what you are thinking about this game. You need to be really positive in these sort of pressure games, and that's how you can really perform well.

Q. Can you comment on Shehzad as a player?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Yeah, I think his performances are really good. You could say he's a match winner. He could really turn the game. So we'll be really happy to have him in the squad because he got that sort of flair and that sort of, you could say, positive attitude that he could rise to the occasion and play a really good inning. He's an important player for us.

Q. Could you talk to me a little bit about Yasir Shah? Obviously his performances have been very good in the limited amount of time he's played for Pakistan, and in Australia generally he'll find conditions perhaps that might suit his leg spin?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Yeah, of course. The kind of bowling he did in the last two games, he proved his worth. He bowled really well in the game against England and even the game before that. That was a bit of, you could say, green pitch against Bangladesh, and they used to play spin well, but he really bowled well and exploited that bounce very well. He's really a good competitor, puts some edging in the team, the kind of efforts he do in the fielding and especially the kind of aggression he brings in the bowling lineup. He's really a, you could say, a good find for Pakistan.

Q. Judging from the experience that you gained from playing a few games here and looking at India specifically, what has Pakistan been focusing on in training?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Obviously in these sort of games you need to focus every department. You need to bowl well, you need to field well, and you need to really bat well, especially in Australian conditions. That's the key. Especially in Australia, batting with the new ball and bowling with the new ball, that's more important, and if you could really put a position under pressure in those first 10, 15 overs, whether you are bowling or batting. That's the key. So we are focusing each and every aspect of the game. Let's see. Be positive and try to just go there and have a good show.

Q. Do you think this is the best chance for you to win against India in the World Cup, because they are struggling to get their first win in the tour because they have not won any match here in Australia?
MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: I think you always need to be like that. Think positive whenever you are playing against any team. You always just think about winning first, and that's what we are thinking about. We are not just worried about what India is doing, what their performances are. I think we need to focus on our strengths and we need to focus on our game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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