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May 31, 2019

Gulbadin Naib

Bristol, Gloucestershire, UK

Q. Gulbadin, how is the team feeling ahead of tomorrow's game?
GULBADIN NAIB: ('m very excited for tomorrow's game, it's the start of the tournament. Also we face the World Champions of 2015, so we are very excited about tomorrow's game, all the boys.

Q. You played Australia in 2015. How good a chance is this to show how far you have come in these last four years?
GULBADIN NAIB: If you look at the last World Cup, how we played there in Australia, so obviously Australia is the best side. They play really well there in Australia and also they are World Champions and also here. So we played here against Pakistan last game here, a warm-up game.

So the team has changed now, especially Afghanistan, so it's not like in 2015 where we are, so now everything is changed. So last couple of years we improve very well in every department so, hopefully, it will be a good again tomorrow.

Q. A lot was made about Afghanistan's story at the 2015 World Cup. What an amazing story that is. Are you ready for people to stop talking about your story and start talking about your cricket?
GULBADIN NAIB: Definitely. If you look for the last five or six years, we improved very well and not only in cricket, all over in Afghanistan. So everyone is talking. But we not looking for them, so we are just focussing and now we are here for the World Cup and it's a big stage, so we are looking forward to do our best.

Q. A major part of your success has been your trio of spin-bowlers. Australia haven't always been successful against spin-bowling. If you get a chance to bowl at them under lights tomorrow, do you think you can bowl them out cheaply?
GULBADIN NAIB: (Laughter). It depends on tomorrow's game, how the wicket behaves. Obviously, we have a great spin department as well. So I don't think... It depends on the wicket tomorrow. I know Australia cricket team have players that are world-class players. But it is depending on the day, how our main bowlers, how they bowl to them.

I have confidence in my team and also the players, how we prepared for the last one year, so I hope we do our best.

Q. Is there a belief in the team that you can beat Australia tomorrow? If so, how?
GULBADIN NAIB: Obviously, when we came here in the tournament, the time we had a good team, world-class players we have, and it's cricket, like we beat Pakistan the first game, so anything can happen. We are here and we play good cricket with them.

Obviously, we expect each team, every team, so Australia is a champion team so I respect them.

We will giving 100 percent on the ground so then we'll be -- at the end of the day what's happening. I'm full of confidence and I believe in my team how we play last two or three years cricket, so it is a cricket tour. Nothing, say anything before the game.

Q. Is everybody fit and available for selection?
GULBADIN NAIB: Everybody is fit for tomorrow's game. We have a lot of options. Shahzad didn't play against England, we gave him rest, so he is fully fit and he is very excited for tomorrow's game.

Q. And Hamid?
GULBADIN NAIB: He is really excited because the last two or three years he was struggling a lot. So he knows everything, so he is waiting for this moment, so he can't leave this kind of moment, so he is fully fit now and you will see tomorrow.

Q. Have you decided on the 11?
GULBADIN NAIB: No, we will decide tomorrow.

Q. Do you think you have the best spin-bowling attack in the world?
GULBADIN NAIB: (Laughter). What do you think?

Q. I think you do, yeah.
GULBADIN NAIB: Yes. We have a good spin attack and also we have, like, good pace. Now Hamid is back. So everyone is just thinking about the bowling attack of Afghanistan. I have full confidence in them. But we should be working the batting line-up. So I know everyone is just thinking about the bowling.

Q. It's an incredible bowling line-up. There are so many different kind of bowlers; you have leg-spin, left-arm wrist spin and Mujeeb as well. So much has fallen into place, are you hoping the pitches will help spinners in this tournament because if they do, you could go a long way?
GULBADIN NAIB: Definitely. If you look at the last game we played against Pakistan here, the pitches just were right for us so that is why they didn't score too much against us. So if like we have this kind of wicket, maybe every and each team will be in trouble (smiling).

Q. Four years ago, Afghanistan wouldn't have played in the World Cup because you were between 11 and 14. There's always been a solidarity between Afghanistan and Ireland, other countries who aren't playing in this tournament. Do you regret the fact this tournament is 10 teams and not 14?
GULBADIN NAIB: I don't understand your question.

Q. Do you think this World Cup should have 14 teams and not 10?
GULBADIN NAIB: (Smiling). We have 14 teams here so it's a Cricket World Cup. So obviously you have great teams like Ireland, Scotland, Holland. Everyone is a good team.

But this is not my decision, it's ICC decision how many teams they include in the World Cup. But when there are 14 or 15 teams, it's very good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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