ODIs will be good for us to see where we stand: Rohit

Virat Kohli and Eoin Morgan pose with the  ODI series trophy on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Calcutta: Off to a fine start so far in the tour, India are certainly the favourites in the ODI series versus England that begins in Nottingham on Thursday.

The series will also give Virat Kohli and his group a good idea about the conditions expected for next year's World Cup, which will be hosted by England and Wales.

For the Indian team management, it's also an opportunity to an analyse where it actually stands at the moment. "With the World Cup in England exactly a year later, in terms of preparations, it will be good for us to see where we stand as a team, what sort of combinations and targets can be available for us, and what we need to do to move forward as a team.

"This tour brings another challenge for us," Rohit said during the match-eve media conference on Wednesday.

England have an explosive batting line-up, a reason why they won close to 50 ODIs after a disastrous World Cup in 2015. But India's focus will be on sticking to their strengths that has worked really well for them over the last 10 months.

"As a team, we have done well in English conditions. We have responded well to the challenges.

"We know this English team will put us under pressure. But we will stick to our strengths and strategies. Then we will be fine," said Rohit.

The pitches in England and especially at Trent Bridge have been batsmen-friendly, but Indian players' mindset won't change or be affected because of that. "When you are playing on pitches like these, you want to bat second preferably.

"We also prefers to chase, but toss is not in our control. However, we don't go out and bat to score 400 runs, but we rather analyse the situation after 30 overs and see what total can be put on board," Rohit said, adding: "The last series (England vs Australia) was high scoring.

"In fact, it was at this very ground where England got 480-odd (against Australia)... So, we're expecting nothing else, but a high-scoring series. But it's always nice to have a total in front of you and then get going. I am sure it will be the same with England as well.

"For us batting or bowling first is immaterial. Playing good cricket is where the focus is."

Lokesh Rahul's form is another major positive for India. This means if Rahul is included in the XI, captain Kohli may drop himself to number four in the batting order. Besides, Rahul's presence injects further aggression into the batting line-up. "Where Virat will bat, it's he who'll decide... Not possible to say where Rahul will bat in the ODIs, but he surely has been in great form.

"He is a quality player, so wherever he will bat, he will contribute. He wants to make a contribution in the ODI team and I'm sure he will make an impact," Rohit emphasised.

Bowling wise, India's pace attack looks to be a bit thin with Jasprit Bumrah already ruled out and Bhuvneshwar Kumar missing the final T20I with a stiff back. But the wrist spinners, particularly Kuldeep Yadav's presence and form, is helping Indians breathe easy.

"Kuldeep is an attacking option anywhere he plays. He will bowl 10 overs, so hopefully, he can extract turn and bounce and trouble the Englishmen like he did in South Africa," Rohit said.

Match starts: 5 pm (IST)


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