CHENNAI (Reuters) – India captain Rohit Sharma is aware of Australia’s awe-inspiring record in global events and warned his team mates not to lower their guard against them in their first match of the 50-overs World Cup on Sunday.
India are currently the top-ranked ODI team and they beat Australia 2-1 last month in a series before heading into the World Cup determined to repeat their 2011 feat when they won the trophy on home soil.
“Australia being Australia, we know how they play in ICC tournaments,” Rohit told reporters on the eve of their clash against the five-time champions.
“There is a reason they have so many championships.
“So for us it will be very important that we stick to what we want to do as a team, focus on our strengths and assess the conditions here.”
The conditions will feel almost equally familiar to Australia, pointed out Rohit, thanks to their participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“It’s absolutely true that they play a lot of cricket here,” Rohit said.
“In terms of how they plan their schedule, it’s pretty good.
“They know what is at stake, World Cup in India, so they make sure they play as much ODIs as possible in India.”
India will take a late call on the participation of opener Shubman Gill, who is recovering from dengue fever.
Should he miss out, left-handed Ishan Kishan is likely to be Rohit’s opening partner though KL Rahul is also an option.
Rohit said India had the variety in their batting lineup to succeed in all conditions.
“The seven-eight batters that we have in the squad, they bring a different dimension to our team,” said Rohit.
“They bring a different sort of style to our team and that is why they have been picked to play the tournament for us.
“I always spoke about being flexible, being a bit versatile in how you want to play. So all of these guys bring that kind of quality with them.”
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)