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Durban: Ahead of the opener of the six-match ODI series against South Africa, starting here Thursday, India vice captain Rohit Sharma on Tuesday said the team will have the ICC ODI World Cup 2019 at the back of their minds when they take the field from here on.
With less than 15 months to for the quadrennial tournament, Rohit said the team can learn from their overseas tours and build up for the mega event.
“I believe it will be a great way to start the series thinking about the 2019 World Cup which will be played in England. Now we know that we will be playing a lot of cricket overseas, and we can take that into our stride and move forward,” Rohit told reporters here.
“We are not thinking too much about the World Cup right now. But in the back of our mind it is always going to be there because we can test ourselves how we respond to situations and how we respond to those conditions out there.
“As far as each individual is concerned, they have been given specific roles and its a long way to go for the World Cup. There is one and a half years still, and there will be a lot of games to be played. It will be important how each individual thinks about what he wants to do,” he added.
Rohit, who smashed his third double hundred in ODIs and joint-fastest century in T20Is against Sri Lanka last month, failed to translate his glorious run in the first Two Tests in South Africa before he was dropped for the third Test.
When questioned if he needed a change in technique in the five-day format, Rohit said: “It’s not that I don’t try much in Test cricket. I give the same effort in all the formats that I play, but sometimes it comes and sometimes it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean that you have to change things too much.”
“There will always be times when things are not going your way, and then when things are going your way, it is important for you to keep things going. Back in coloured uniform, the Mumbaikar is now focussed on guiding his team to win the ODI series.
“I’m not going to talk about Test cricket so much because its over now, and we have a big job at hand winning the ODI series here. Every batsman who will be taking part in this ODI series will have a huge role to play. I’m here to make an impact in the series,” he said.
The last time India played an ODI series in South Africa (in 2013), they lost the three-match series 0-2. Rohit said the top-order will have to come good and reverse the form from last tour.
“There are two things into it. The first thing is when we came last time, our guys were inexperienced and had hardly played in overseas conditions. It does matter because the lengths that you bowl in India and the lengths that you bowl overseas are slightly different. “Now all these bowlers have enough experience and they’ve got the job done in Test series as well. They created history by taking all 60 wickets in the Test series,” he said.
“Our bowling has shown enough courage and it is a plus for the bowling unit. So it will be a different ball game this time around,” he added. Rohit also downplayed India’s poor record in ODIs at Durban, saying: “I don’t think these things matter because so many things change. The teams have changed. The generations have changed. It’s a 50-over game, so you get time. Even if the first 10 overs go bad, you can always come back.”