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October 20, 2021

Aaqib Ilyas

Muscat , Oman

Oman Cricket Academy Ground


Pre Match Media Conference

Q. It will be a great match tomorrow, I think, because it's an important game for you and Scotland. So what will be your main target? And how will you evaluate this match, how it's going on?

AAQIB ILYAS: See, the thing is it's a very important match for both the sides because the team who wins qualifies for the main round. And that's why we have been working hard for this date. And hopefully we'll look out -- they have some good players on their side who are very aggressive. We have to look for them and we have to minimise our mistakes.

If we minimise our mistakes we will win the match. You can see in the last game we had -- we missed some (indiscernible). We dropped some catches which cost us the match. They got some good runs.

So at this level I think we have to minimise our mistakes. And our bowlers are doing very well. Some batting didn't work out but hopefully In sha'Allah will come. But the only thing is we have to focus on our bowling and hopefully In sha'Allah will get them.

Q. The mistakes, you just mentioned the mistakes and batting order and batting -- (indiscernible) doing well. So what mistakes you can evaluate, want to evaluate?

AAQIB ILYAS: See, the only thing is, fielding is the most important thing now because you can see the player would drop the catch on maybe 26, the Bangladesh player nine, maybe and he was probably (indiscernible) 20s twice. And then he got a target of 70 runs. And 50 runs additional are a very big thing for us, appearance for any side.

If you drop catches -- if they drop a catch of (indiscernible) and he got off to a good start. That's how it will come. We have to minimise the errors over there. And with batting, as an opener we have to do well. And if we get a good start, we have to make sure we finish the match well. And we don't leave it to the other players because you never know, it's a short format. You get in there, it's not easy to play. That's what we will focus on.

Q. Is this the first time you've played in a full house, home crowd, a lot of expectations from the people? How much do you think that played a role in the mistakes that were made? Was the side nervous? Was the futures nervous? Were the batsmen nervous? Did you feel that?

AAQIB ILYAS: Depends on person to person. For me, it was very positive that the people came out there and supported us because we played a few games and it depends on the performances. If you're performing in such a crowd, maybe in the next match it's really positive that the people are coming. They talk about you and they voice you. And that's where you want to give more.

But I think it's all about being mentally strong. If you're really mentally strong all this doesn't matter. It's just for five, ten minutes when you get into the ground you feel people are there, they're watching you, you've been live on TV. Everyone over the world everyone's watching you.

But within five, ten minutes I everything gets normal. You have to be mentally strong and be prepared for this thing because when you're playing on such a platform and you're playing for qualifiers, obviously it will be a home background and all over the world people will watch you.

Q. So of course the general feedback just to give you the positive feedback is that people have been very excited with the brand of cricket that Oman has been playing and that's why the people have been coming and everything has been sold out. Having said that for tomorrow do you have any clues as to any changes in the side?

AAQIB ILYAS: Up until now we don't have any changes. We might have, maybe have one that we have to (indiscernible) -- it depends on the pitch. If there's an aggressive mindset we could get in the fast bowler. If it's a turning track we might get in a spinner. Depends on the wicket. Otherwise our team is doing very well with the side. Only thing is our batting couldn't do well, but In sha'Allah it will come good in the next match.

Q. Do you think you missed a spinner in the last game?

AAQIB ILYAS: I don't think we missed a spinner because our fast bowlers were doing really well. I even was bowling and the ball wasn't turning. Our captain who came in, the ball wasn't turning, it was just coming straight on the bat. It was good to see and go with the fast bowlers and you could see they did a really well job.

Q. Tomorrow presents a bit of a different challenge for you. You're coming up against a team which is full of momentum, full of positivity after two wins. How does that change your approach to tomorrow's game?

AAQIB ILYAS: The thing is they won two matches. They might be positive. But the only thing, cricket is such a funny game, that after wining two games they're still at a position, if they lose, they're out of the tournament.

So we are positive because they might win pressure, but we're not in pressure, because it's just a game. We have to win. Somewhere after winning the game, they might have thought they're already qualified.

But now our run rate is such high that if we just win the match, we go in and they're out. So this happened to us before, and the teams who were at the top, they got in more pressure there was a time we were thinking we were in. Now at the moment if we lose we're out of the tournament.

So we feel really positive and we have to go in with a positive mind. This doesn't matter. They have done well. It was the past; it's gone. Tomorrow, let's see what we do.

Q. How will you plan to use the atmosphere and the home crowd to your advantage tomorrow?

AAQIB ILYAS: Depends on -- that's what I said, it depends on person to person. But the thing is when the home crowd supports you, if I'm a batsman, open batsman, I go in and I hit a boundary, everybody cheers you up; everything is easy for you. Your pressure goes down. You can hold down your nerves. You can say everyone is supporting me; I have to do well.

That's the way, if you bowl well, you feel well. Anything you do well, people cheer you up and you get more energetic. That's how they can help. It's helpful. Otherwise, for cricket, this doesn't matter much. He has to do everything. All the people say you can do this but he has to do this. He knows this thing.

Q. What condition, wickets and environment of the four matches, can you see that changes and what would be the wicket, the concern of the wicket? It will be like before some changes you can face.

AAQIB ILYAS: Yeah, depends on the wicket only and we can see if anyone has not performed well, we'll figure out. Today we'll have a meeting after the practise sessions, we'll figure out if we can get a power hitter in the side or we can get a medium base hitter on the side who can do well for us.

We have to look on a few things. But up to now we haven't decided anything. We'll decide maybe before the match or we have a meeting in the morning or after the sessions and they will decide what to do and what not to do.

Q. In terms of Associate cricket, you look at the group, we've got Scotland in first place, Oman in second place, which was unlikely at this stage. How much do you think that represents the progress that's been made in Associate cricket in recent years?

AAQIB ILYAS: I think the Associate teams have been doing really well. Scotland defeating a test-playing nation, it's a big achievement. We did really well. There was a time we were about to defeat Bangladesh but due to lack of experience I think we lost the match.

But you can see all Associate teams are doing really well. It's just due to the coverage, the media coverage that they're getting, a lot of cricket they're getting in.

This is what I want to say, if Associate teams, their matches have been live, and they've been on TV most of the time, so they get excess of cricket. So they might do really well maybe better some of the test-playing nations also.

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