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July 4, 2019

Gulbadin Naib

Headingley, Leeds, England, UK

West Indies - 311/6 (50), Afghanistan - 288 (50)

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Gulbadin Naib. Questions?

Q. Ikram Ali Khil had a very good game today. Can you tell us what is the way forward for him as a batsman? It was his first tournament, possibly getting a bit more power as a batsman?
GULBADIN NAIB: Yeah, he played really well. So he has done his job. But he missed a century for the World Cup, it was a big achievement for anyone. So he's a youngster, he's a youngster player now. He played a lot of cricket back home last two, three years. So also he played good cricket and Under-19 World Cup so this is why we gave the opportunity to him. He proved himself now. This is the thing I want, because I give the chance for a youngster. So they come forward. And after two, three years it will be much better for the team and for the country. So this way we have more talent in Afghanistan. So not only Ali Khil, you have a lot of talent in Afghanistan. Insha'Allah, hope this kind of performance they did, like Ikram did, and I hope for other guys, insha'Allah, they will be, if you give the chance to them they'll be proving themselves.

Q. Obviously you've come to this tournament and so many people want Afghanistan to do well, not just from your nation but around the world, in the cricket world. But as cricketers and professionals, how disappointed are you to leave with no wins?
GULBADIN NAIB: I'm really disappointed for the performance especially for the team. Like if you look for each and every game, for my game, for Afghanistan team, so we did a lot of mistakes. It looks like not an Afghanistan team. So like we're playing our natural cricket, how we played last two, three years, but I didn't see it here. I don't know why, did not put themselves on the ground. But we learn a lot of things here. So I'm not happy with the team performance, especially for the boys' performance. Like we have big names on the team, but they didn't utilise their self on the ground especially. But obviously, if we are here -- when you are here. So everyone just the hope is expecting a lot for Afghanistan cricket. They will show the world how we beat the teams, the big teams. But we did well in the end, so last five games, four games we did quite well. So I look for the last four, five games, we did well. But it's a big game, big team. So every team has prepared really well. They came here for the World Cup. And also we are hoping for that. So when we are here -- so we are also hoping for a win for three games here. But unfortunately we didn't. But we learned a lot of things here especially. From my side, I learned a lot of things here.

Q. You talked about some big players. Rashid Khan, do you think there's sort of left a lot to be desired considering so much was expected of him coming into the tournament?
GULBADIN NAIB: If you look at the other players, for the other countries, players like Shakib, especially Finch or Bairstow, the other players, they start really well for this tournament. So this way his morale and confidence is really high. But you have big names on the team like Najib, Rashid, Mujeeb. One time Mujeeb, first three games he's really upset, didn't put 100 percent. Of course he have some problem, his actions. So then he prove himself in the last four, five games. But Rashid and Najib, everyone just expecting for them especially, so like how we played our last two, three years cricket. Especially Rashid have like 60 percent winning percentage on our team. Every game he has 50, 60 percent on the team. But I'm also expecting a lot for him. But it's cricket. So he gives 100 percent on the ground. But it's bad luck, you can say. Sometimes like (indiscernible) sometimes missed umpire decision, sometimes catches dropped. But if you look at the performance for three, four games, we did well, but it's not enough from here. Like if you beat these kind of teams in this kind of tournament, so you should be prepared really well and in each and every department.

Not like only we have big names, it's not like -- it's big names of cricket here. Especially who is doing well on the ground, who is doing 100 percent on the ground, here on this match, on this day. So I'm happy, like, how we played the last four games. So it's cricket. So you cannot say anything.

Q. You spoke about making a lot of mistakes and about learning as a captain. Do you think you've probably learned about what your batting order should be right now because you jumbled it up quite a bit? Ikram batted at 8, 9, 4, 3 and even Najib has batted down and up.
GULBADIN NAIB: Because I accept this captaincy, this is the World Cup. So if you look properly, we didn't give the chance for every player for a fixed position like in the batting order. But if you look for the players, nobody just -- like me especially, I'm batting No. 7 or 6 or 8. I just jump the last four, five games. It's a team requirement. We looked for the team, so we didn't give a chance for the seniors who batted in the middle order. That's why we're just going up and down and sometimes we give the chance for the bowlers we miss openers. So we have -- like it's not like we give it up -- it's not like a position game, like when you say it's a mind game. Cricket is ultimately a mind game. If you play with the will and big hearts, it's nothing easy on the ground. It's just on your heart, how you play on the ground, how you control your nerves and pressure on the ground. So the position, it's just a number. So if you go on -- like if I'm doing well in the opener -- I didn't play -- bowled like in the last 12 years, I opened the batting in qualifying in Zimbabwe. I'm here. It's a team requirement. If you play with a big heart, any position is good on you. It's not a big problem for anyone.

Q. You came close to winning at least two, three games, India and Pakistan games, even today. So now that the tournament, campaign is over, looking back, you think which were the games you should have won and which are the toughest teams you have faced? And do you have a favourite?
GULBADIN NAIB: First three games we played really badly. I accepted it, like against -- we played first game, Australia, we did well against Australia and also New Zealand, against Sri Lanka. We also have target -- the Sri Lanka match. But one thing -- especially I learned a lot of things here, because it's not easy to beat any one team, so -- because we beat some teams in the Asia Cup, so everyone is expecting a lot for Afghanistan, but because the thing has changed really quickly. Yeah, you target some games here like against Sri Lanka, Pakistan game. Like we played quite well against India. And also against West Indies. But if you look for the teams who -- I'm not happy with the team performance, like, nobody gave his 100 percent for the team, for the country. It's not like -- professional cricket life, you play professional cricket, you should be, each and every department you will be fit and 100 percent. You will go well on the ground. Especially the fitness is a big issue for our team. So if you're not fit, so nothing is -- nothing will go well on you. So the fitness issues I have a lot -- I learned a lot of things here, especially, insha'Allah, after this tournament, our World Cup campaign is finished, we have a lot of things in Afghanistan. We have a lot of cricket there. So we should improve our cricket. We should improve our skills. So we should improve every department now in cricket. So hope -- so, insha'Allah -- it's cricket. Yes, we played really badly here. I'm really upset for the performance. But we did well. We didn't give 100 percent for how the people, how the audience expected from Afghanistan. So I say sorry for my fans, for my country, for my audience, because especially we didn't give our 100 percent.

Q. What is your second favourite team after Afghanistan?
GULBADIN NAIB: India. India is my favourite team.

Q. I think at the end you had an exchange with Chris Gayle. I think you bowed at his feet. Can you just sum up how big he is for cricket and -- it's his last World Cup game, can you sum it up?
GULBADIN NAIB: Yeah, I talked to Chris Gayle, I said to him, you didn't say -- in the start of the match, you said last game. So we gave honour to you. So because you're not like -- you're the legend player of West Indies; you did well for your country, for your people, especially you have a big name. So you should tell us -- we didn't know about it. So I said -- then he said, no, it's my last World Cup; it's not my retirement. I said, oh, playing, coming up 10 years more? (Laughter).

So second question for, yeah, big stage, big tournament and also big teams here. So I'm happy for that. So one of them, Afghanistan, top 10 teams. And also good luck for Afghanistan team; they played well here. But cricket is not finishing after this World Cup. We learned a lot of things here. So we should work on it, if we want to improve ourselves, improve cricket. So everybody just looks from here. So they do well here. Once they give, as like what are the positive things here they should take from here and they work on it. So, yeah, we did well, but like I'm not happy for the performance of the team, of how the people expected. But we learned a lot of things here.

Q. As a captain, how do you look at Afghanistan in the next World Cup?
GULBADIN NAIB: We achieved a lot of things in very short time, in very short time. So it's cricket. Sometimes you -- like after the World Cup it's not the end of our cricket. Like Afghanistan, nothing after the World Cup. But we proved here, cricket here, like we played good cricket here, like, the last five games. We have shown against India and Bangladesh and Pakistan especially and as of today we played really good cricket here. But in the middle, we missed it. So this is the thing.

But, insha'Allah, I'm hoping Afghanistan will be in the next World Cup, upcoming, two, three years Afghanistan be the top five, six, insha'Allah we look forward. But we learn a lot of things. We take positive things from here. So if you take positive things from here and when you make mistakes, everybody learns from their mistakes. We did a lot of mistakes. We should learn from that. So, insha'Allah, we'll be looking forward. I'm hoping so. We'll be due in upcoming years.

Q. You've obviously been involved with Afghanistan cricket for a long time, going back to travelling to places like Jersey and those sorts of places. They've had a few really good tournaments in that time. Is this the most disappointing one because you expected the most?
GULBADIN NAIB: Yeah, you mentioned Jersey for the Afghanistan team. The time I'm just 16 years, I'm quite young joining the team. The last 21 years, in my career, especially, I faced a lot of good days or bad days in my life. But in my life I never looked back. I just looked forward and what -- like we play a lot of cricket, a lot of tournaments, bad tournaments, good tournaments. Like also the last year when we're playing a qualifying round against Zimbabwe. So especially in the first three, four games we played really bad cricket there. So then after we jumped, like, then we won the tournament and we qualified for the World Cup. And, yeah, now Afghanistan is a full member team and we have a test status. So we have a lot of cricket now. Now on those days when we have like divisions, or just cricket depend on one division, or if you win the division, then you go to the other division. So now we have -- obviously I had a lot of trouble in cricket in my life when I was on the team, or not on the team, when I was on the tour also I perform. But next I beat the performance. But it's the life, everything is coming. But I'm never looking back in my life. I'm just looking forward and then focusing my career and focusing my cricket. I'm not saying anything -- people are saying a lot of things, especially here now. But I'm not looking for them because I'm here for Afghanistan, for my team. So however I'm giving 100 percent for my team, for my country, so I'll be here. So we have a lot of talent back home.

So, but everyone is hoping for good. And also I'm trying to do good for my team, for my country, how I played last 10, 11 years for my country. Insha'Allah, hoping how much cricket is left in my life, so I will play for my country.

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