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October 20, 2021

Graham Ford

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Sheikh Zayed Stadium


Pre Match Media Conference

Q. First of all on today's match, what was your summing up of it?

GRAHAM FORD: Yeah, I thought we've got to give credit to Sri Lanka. They played extremely well. They were in trouble. We got off to a good start and they found themselves up against it a bit, but they counterattacked us. Hasaranga played fantastically well. But their bowling performance was extremely impressive, the discipline, the control and the pace.

We were obviously hoping to have done better, but I think we've got to just accept that the bowling performance was something very, very good, and sometimes against an attack that's executing as well as that, you need a few things to go your way, which didn't quite happen today.

Q. Talk about the Namibia game on Friday being a winner-take-all.

GRAHAM FORD: Yeah, I think for us we come to this tournament with a slightly different view to some of the big countries in that we are gaining and learning with every single outing. We're trying to make as much progress in our cricket as possible. So every game is important as far as that's concerned, to try and make the improvements, the little improvements here and there and become better at executing our skills. It was mentioned with the captain about the adapting to the extra pace and all of that.

Win or lose, we are gaining and we are learning, so that's a big plus for us. But quite obviously we're desperate to go through to the next phase of the tournament, as well.

Q. If you had said we have to beat Namibia to qualify, would you have taken that?

GRAHAM FORD: Yeah, of course. Obviously you're always greedy as a coach. You want to win everything and you want to have a nice easy last fixture and say, well, we're already through.

But realistically you attack that we're still alive, we're still in the competition, and that's the important thing.

Q. Graham, did you see any of Namibia? Obviously you did a lot of preparations today before your own game against Sri Lanka, but that was a very good comeback from them to get 160. What did you make of them?

GRAHAM FORD: We didn't really get to see too much because we had a long bus journey while the game was on and then sort of caught the end of the game. They did hit the ball extremely well at the end. But we know that they've got some very dangerous players, and David Wiese who put on a show, and we caught the end of that show. He's played for South Africa in the T20 World Cup before and I've seen him in South Africa and on the county circuit. He can be absolutely devastating, which he was today.

You know, they've got some dangerous players. They've got some very hardworking cricketers that quite a few of them have learnt quite a lot of their cricket in South Africa, as well, and as Andrew said earlier, they pushed us close in the qualifying or the last game of the qualifiers. We know that they're going to be tough.

If we're slightly off our best, we will struggle.

Q. You talked a little there about little improvements between games, et cetera. I'm wondering does the structure of the tournament make that more difficult when the games are coming so thick and fast and you haven't got a lot of training days in between?

GRAHAM FORD: Look, there's no doubt it's very difficult because of the distances that you have to travel to get to training venues, et cetera. Making improvements in terms of actually just getting in the nets and training is quite difficult. We can get to the ground a little bit earlier on match days and a couple of guys can sharpen their skills that way. A lot of the work needed to be done in the preparation phase, which we had a pretty good block through that period, and now it's not so much getting in the nets and trying to work on anything, it's more about what have we learnt from the matches that we've played and how can we improve tactically and just really try to look sharper and see where we can improve in the game situation.

Q. Have you got any idea about what conditions to expect in Sharjah?

GRAHAM FORD: Yeah, I do, but I'm not really going to go into that because I've had a few good chats with some of the IPL coaches, but we'll keep that to ourselves for now, if you don't mind.

Q. During your time in Colombo --

GRAHAM FORD: I left Colombo because of you. Now you're back haunting me.

Q. During your time in Colombo, Dushmantha Chameera was out of the side sometimes because of injuries. How good to see him fighting on all cylinders?

GRAHAM FORD: Look, when I first came back for the second stint in Sri Lanka, he was just coming through and bowling the speed of light and really exciting, and I think he had had a very good tour of New Zealand just before I arrived. Then unfortunately the injury issues set in. But he showed enough as a young bloke that he was going to be a real force to reckon with.

He bowled beautifully again today and was no surprise. No surprise that he's been involved in the IPL, et cetera. I'm sure he's still got a good few years ahead of him of bowling really quick.

Q. What's your favourite Irish whisky?

GRAHAM FORD: I nearly dropped myself -- if I mention a name, do you think they might sponsor me? Because I just -- if I can get a case or two by mentioning the name, it's quite a good thing, so I'll go with Jameson's for now.

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