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Rashid Khan 'not thinking about' England game anymore - Gulbadin Naib

Rashid Khan looks on Getty Images

If you're worried about Rashid Khan in the aftermath of the shellacking he got at the hands of England, don't be, says the Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib.

Rashid was the chief victim of Eoin Morgan's brutal, six-laden 148 on Tuesday, copping figures of 110 for no wickets from nine overs. Through the course of that innings, he conceded three fours and a whopping 11 sixes. One of the best performers on the franchise T20 circuit, though, Rashid will not let those figures torment him, said Naib. Against India, he will also be bowling to batsmen he is familiar with, having played three seasons of the IPL.

"It happens to every player - you face this kind of bad day," Naib said of Rashid's performance on Tuesday. "Rashid is not an easy bowler to face. Even we can't play him in the nets even though we know him, so he's very difficult. The credit goes to the England side who played really well, but I think Rashid is now one of the strongest players mentally, so he learns everything very quickly, and also learns from mistakes.

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"I saw him today and he's totally different. This is a good sign for me and the team. He's not thinking about what happened. He's just focusing on the present and future, which is the good thing about Rashid."

Although Rashid is the most high-profile example, he is not the only Afghanistan player having a poor World Cup. The team, in general, has performed worse than expected, and though never tipped to be one of the semi-finalists, they have now suffered three big defeats in succession.

In an interview with Mid-Day, Rashid put the team's performance down partly to inexperience.

"I don't think we prepared that well for a tournament like this," he said. "We should have won at least one or two games; we had the opportunity to do so, but we lacked experience. Hopefully, we will get that with time. All teams have come here with big preparations. We will utilise this experience when we play these teams again.

"For example, it was our first ODI against South Africa, we played New Zealand after four years. If we play against teams after four years, we will lack understanding. We have played against Pakistan before in the Asia Cup, so we had a fair idea. In the World Cup warm-up match, we won against them. So, the more you play against them, the better."

Rashid would not be drawn directly on the other controversies surrounding Afghanistan at present - particularly regarding the alleged board interference with the way the team is run. He had, however, been publicly critical of the decision to remove Asghar Afghan from the captaincy less than two months before the start of the World Cup.

"When the captain was changed, yes we made our anger public. I did not do that to support our previous captain or anybody else. I did it for Afghanistan cricket. If someone is trying to spoil my Afghanistan cricket, then it does not matter who it is," he said. "Cricket is the only thing that brings a smile on people's faces. I wanted to say that it was not the right time to take such a big decision - just before the World Cup.

"When I am on the field, I don't think I play for my captain or for my cricket board. I play only for Afghanistan. No one is important than my country."