Rohit Sharma is optimistic and hopeful that everyone stays in good form and health as he emphasizes the crucial importance of taking care of the players’ well-being in the coming weeks leading to the ODI World Cup.

Rohit Sharma took a brief rest during the first two ODIs against Australia but is now back to lead the team in the series’ final match in Rajkot. The returning players include Virat Kohli and Kuldeep Yadav, while Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, and Axar Patel will be absent from the third ODI.

With a commanding 2-0 lead in the series, India has demonstrated their superiority over Australia in the initial matches. Rohit Sharma expressed his hope that all the players maintain their good form and health as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup. There is still time until the 28th to make final decisions regarding the World Cup squad.

“We have time till 28 to finalize the World Cup squad. Keeping my fingers crossed that there is no injury and everyone remains in good form and health,” says Rohit at the pre-match presser in Rajkot.

The captain is optimistic, especially for Axar Patel, who is recovering from an injury sustained before the Asia Cup final, as they work towards securing a strong and healthy squad for the tournament.

Rohit also revealed that the squad for the final ODI against Australia has been reduced to just 13 players due to various factors. Despite the challenges, he commended the Men in Blue for their impressive performance in the first two ODIs and sees the third ODI as an opportunity to maintain their consistent form.

“Currently, we have only 13 players to choose from. Gill has been rested. Shami and Hardik have gone home for personal reasons. And Axar is not available too. Also, some of the players have been hit by viral. So, there is a lot of uncertainty in the team at this point in time which we cannot help. But in the next few weeks, it’s very important to look after the players and their well-being. So, it’s good for them to be at home and return afresh for the World Cup,” Rohit said.

“I wasn’t part of the last two games but we achieved quite a bit. Chased well, batted well and bowled well too. Tomorrow’s game allows us to test in certain areas… whether we can be consistent. Very happy with the way we played in the last 10 ODIs. Guys scored runs, picked wickets. Players coming from injury also contribute. A lot of positives but need to keep improving as players. We have challenged our team by putting it in difficult situations during the Asia Cup and Australia ODIs. We have achieved quite a bit with regard to preparations,” he added.

In the midst of the ongoing discussions about R Ashwin’s potential inclusion in the World Cup squad, Rohit Sharma praised the seasoned off-spinner for his performance in the series thus far. He emphasized the importance of having contingency plans in place and expressed confidence in Ashwin’s abilities.

“R Ashwin has got the class, experience of playing the sport and handling pressure. It’s just that he hasn’t played this format in the last one year. In the last two ODIs, we saw how well he bowled. We have a lot of backups ready,” said Rohit.

While India stands on the verge of a series whitewash against Australia with just one more win needed, Rohit’s primary emphasis remains on the broader perspective, which is excelling in the upcoming World Cup and consistently delivering exceptional cricket performances.

“There is a bigger goal and picture in mind. Focusing on that will be crucial at the moment, not the whitewash. As players, we want to play good cricket”, he concluded.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023

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