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February 17, 2015

Andy Moles

Mohammad Nabi


MOHAMMAD NABI: Yeah, we beat Bangladesh in Asia Cup in the home ground as well. And everyone knows that, and everyone says that they're the favourite team against Bangladesh, and hopefully we beat them in that game as well, because the conditions are suitable for Afghanistan to have quality first bowlers and also the right bounce of suitable condition and suitable for the batsmen as well, yeah.

Q. This is the first match for Afghanistan in World Cup. Are you excited to have the first match of World Cup?
Yeah, everyone is excited for the World Cup. Everyone is excited also because this is our first World Cup tournament and also the start of the tournament is against Bangladesh. It's very good and hopefully we enjoy every game in the World Cup, yeah.

Q. I asked him about the team and whether anybody's injured or not and how confident they are.

Q. Obviously, there has been a lot of talk about this being Afghanistan's first match. How is the pressure on the players? Do the players feel a sense of great occasion and how do you manage the nerves coming into your first World Cup match?
Yeah, we've played before against big teams like Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India as well. Also we played in warm-up games against India as well. Hopefully everyone's controls their nerves as well and also controls the pressure as well. If we control the pressure, then we'll perform well in the match.

Q. Is it a good thing this is against Bangladesh match?
Yeah, I think four or five guys have played in BPL and also in the Dhaka Premier League as well. They played the initial guys as well with the same teams. I also played in Dhaka Premier League as well. I think it's a good experience for our guys that they know the Bangladeshi players and how they play and how they bowl. Yeah, it's good experience for us.

Q. Andy, how are you feeling being part of this occasion, and I bet you've seen a few teams in your 25 years in the game. How good do you think this team is or could be?
It's very exciting to be part of a World Cup and to be involved in any team in the World Cup. But especially with the Afghanistan starting their debut, they've come a long way in 12, 14 years. The question asking how the players are feeling, they're very excited. It's an honor. They feel a real genuine honor to be here, and they want to do well for the public at home. It's a massive inspiration generally for the players. They want to do well for the public at home, it's a very important message. As far as I'm concerned. It's great to be here, part of the World Cup competition. The players have worked really hard, and from my point of view now, all the work and preparation has been done. The next 24 hours we'll just get ready for the game tomorrow. Make sure we're calm, calculated and execute the plans. And if we do that, Bangladesh can look forward to a very hard game tomorrow, and we'll compete, and if we do the right things at the right time, we can get the right result. We expect if we do the right things at the right time, we will get the right result. We're aware that the Bangladesh are a full-member side. We've played a lot of cricket. We respect them, and we're certainly not scared. We're looking forward to the challenge.

Q. Andy in terms of preparation, Afghanistan I think played four ODIs in the UAE last month against Scotland and Ireland. What do you take from that given Bangladesh hasn't played any ODIs in 2015?
Yeah, I'm sure in an ideal world they would have liked to have more cricket and I'm sure they've prepared themselves, but that's their issue, it's not my issue. I'm looking at we played against Ireland and Scotland, and one thing we showed there is when we do the basics well and we support each other and everybody concentrates on their own individual roles on the team, we can be successful. We know what our plan is. We know what our recipe for success is. It's about now just putting it out on the field. As I said before, if we can stay calm and the guys can enjoy the occasion, we'll play some good cricket.

Q. Last time when you were building against Bangladesh, at that time Shakib and Tamim was not in that match, but this time they are playing. Do you think it's a different Bangladesh team that you'll face tomorrow?
Yeah, Tamim and Shakib are the most senior players for Bangladesh team. If you look at the condition of Bangladesh, it's totally different. Hopefully we perform against them as well. We enjoy the effort that Bangladesh have full of senior players playing against us, and hopefully we perform well against them as well.

Q. In an interview I heard you say Afghanistan would beat Bangladesh. Was that a mind game or do you really believe that Afghanistan is a better team? And what made you believe so?
Pressure is not on Afghanistan. Pressure is totally on Bangladesh because we're already beating tops. We try our best and execute the plan and do all of that at the right time, and hopefully we perform well against them and didn't challenge the Bangladesh team. We respect the Bangladesh team as well. They are the most test nation on the team as well. But we hope that we perform well against them in the first game.

Q. Coach, when you joined this team in the early days, what was the one team that surprised you, one quality which surprised you when you stumbled upon it? When you talk about keeping calm, do you think Afghanistan at times is way too aggressive as they need to be?
I think first of all what impressed me about them was the genuine all-around passion for the game and their genuine desire to win games of cricket. Whoever they play against, they go on the field and they genuinely believe they can win a game of cricket. Your second question was around?

Q. That they need to be calm?
: Yeah, about being calm. What happens is the Afghans, when we don't play our best cricket, we get a bit excited. We want to hit fours and sixes, and that's in any development of any child, any development of any cricket team, any development an educator will tell you it's a learning process. Whatever it may be, cricket, math, English, whatever you do. The Afghan cricket team and their players are on a great journey. They've been educated through the coaches and through the senior players, and we're making remarkable strides. As in any classroom, you don't always get your right answers when you challenge the learners, and we'll have days when we don't quite get it right, but I see a genuine growth month by month by month by month. The World Cup is a magnificent opportunity, but it's also primarily a great learning curve. But honestly, we're here to compete in every fixture. We're not here to fulfill fixtures. We're proud to be here in the World Cup. But generally we believe if we play good cricket, we'll challenge every side that we play against.

Q. Captain, I believe you grew up in a refugee camp, and I would imagine there are similar players in that similar situation. Just talk us through what got you through that and how big a moment it is to be able to lead your country into a World Cup in the first one and get over that as well?
Yeah, in the refugee camp, that was quite tough life as well. Also we play cricket a lot in the refugee camp as well. Now I am the captain of Afghanistan in the first World Cup of 2015, and I am very happy to be representing Afghanistan in the World Cup. Hopefully enjoy the whole tournament as the captain.

Q. Talk about some of the hardships that these boys are going through. Now the top tier of cricket?
It's been well-documented the hardships that the players and the general public have at home and all over Afghanistan. These players, as I've said before, they want to -- it's a unifying sport. It's a well-received sport amongst the population in Afghanistan, and the players know that through good performances it will be a massive uplifting and just a general well-being in the country. So I can't stress enough the importance of the players feel and their performance will have an uplifting effect on the country and general public back home in Afghanistan.

Q. Andy, no doubt your players are going to be feeling a little nervous going into their first World Cup match. But who do you think the bulk of the pressure will be on to get their first World Cup off to a win tomorrow?
Obviously, Bangladesh must have all the pressure. They're expected to win. I heard someone say we're favorites. I don't see that at all. Bangladesh have played in three or four World Cups. Five, okay. So you really are favorites because you've played so many. Five World Cups ago we weren't even in the ICC, so we're very much in our infancy. But if we play well, we do right things, we stay calm, we are capable of playing some serious cricket. But you ask are we under pressure? We're only under pressure in what we set ourselves and how we want to represent ourselves. If we do the right things, the results will look after itself. But coming into the game, I think Bangladesh would be the favorites.

Q. Just a quick follow-up to that. Do you think your players relish the underdog attack?
I think they're just excited at being given the opportunity. They've been looking forward to this moment for two years now, and eventually it's here. We've prepared well. The players are immensely fitter than what they were a year ago. They understand the hardness of the game. We've played against some pretty good opposition over the last six, seven months by touring and playing in Western Australia, New Zealand, and playing in India the other day. We know we have to be at our best in all three formats of the game, and that is the challenge. So are we nervous? No, we're excited. But we know we're in for some serious challenges in this competition. But if we do our things right and only concentrate on our own skills, the results in the performances will look after themselves. FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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