We are very keen to win this ODI series, says Rohit Sharma

[caption id="attachment_62414" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Rohit Sharma Rohit Sharma is looking forward to win the first ever ODI series in South Africa. Image Source: twitter[/caption]

Internet Desk: India’s star opening batsman Rohit Sharma said that they will give their hundred percent to win a first-ever bilateral in South Africa. The Men in Blue will have to win the series at any cost to reach the top spot in ICC ODI rankings surpassing the Proteas.

"We are very keen to win this ODI series. But it is a long series; it is a six-match series. I think its been a while since we played a six-match series. We cannot think too far ahead,” said Rohit during the press-conference today.

"It is important to do a lot of things right. There will be times when we will be put under pressure but as a team we have shown that we can absorb that pressure and come back, he said.

At the same time we have shown that if we put pressure back on the opposition they tend to crumble. We are going to try to use it to our advantage."

The last time India played an ODI series in South Africa (in 2013), they lost three-match series 2-0. 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. 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." ]

When asked about Indias poor record in ODIs at Durban, Rohit said, 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.

"We can't give up on the situation. Whoever comes into bat must remember that the team has to be kept in the game. These small things are important as opposed to the past records."

Talking about his ODI form, Rohit said he is enjoying playing the shorter formats at the moment.

"Of course the last six-seven months have been really great. Since the Champions Trophy in England, we've had a great run except for the loss against Pakistan (in the final).

"That was a little disappointing. But yes, since then its been a good run. I hope I can continue and put the team in a good situation. We want to get those victories away from home."

The ODI specialists arrived in South Africa during the third Test in Johannesburg. The team travelled to Durban together on Monday. And on Tuesday, at the Kingsmead Oval,they got down to serious work in the nets ahead of the first match.

Most noticeably, the contenders for three middle-order spots MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Shreyas Iyer and Kedar Jadhav all had long hits in the middle against both pace and spin.

"More than the technical aspect of the game it is mentally that you need to tell yourself that the shots you played in Tests and shots you play in ODIs are different," he said

With less than 15 months to for the 2019 ODI World Cup, Rohit said that the tournament in England is at the back of the Indian teams mind.

"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.

"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, he said.

"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.

On being asked about Indian U19 team’s U19 World Cup semifinal win against the arch-rivals Pakistan today, Rohit said,”We’ve been following their journey throughout the Test series. I think they’ve played some really good cricket and we always thought that this team has something special in them. With Rahul Dravid being the coach, we know these guys will do their best. Every game they have played, they have destroyed the opposition and that is always good to see. Their fast bowling has been really impressive, and everybody’s been talking about their bowling. I just hope that they do the same in the final as well. I know it’s not going to be that easy, winning the championship is never easy. But we wish them success, and the entire Indian team is watching them play from here. On behalf of the full squad here we all wish and hope they can bring the cup back to India.”

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