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Rohit Sharma: Big challenge to beat consistent South Africa

India's top-order batsman does not want to read too much into South Africa's warm-up loss ahead of Twenty20 opener on Friday; insists they are one of the strongest sides in all three formats

Dharamsala: Rohit Sharma says the Indian team is not reading too much into South Africa's surprise loss in the warm-up game and feels it will be a big challenge to beat of "one of the most consistent sides across format" when the series begins with the T20 international here on Friday.

 Rohit Sharma interacts with media in Dharamsala yesterday
Rohit Sharma interacts with media in Dharamsala yesterday

"These are practice games. The teams field their best combination and try out reserves as well. I don't want to read too much into Tuesday's result. Because every team is trying something or the other (in the warm-up games). It is better that we don't look much into it. They are one of the strongest sides, in all formats and not in just T20," said Rohit during a media interaction at the scenic HPCA stadium. India 'A' had humbled South Africans in a practice game on Tuesday.

IPL experience
When asked about India not playing enough T20s, Rohit said: "I agree that we have not played many T20s as a team but considering the fact that lot of guys have been playing in IPL, they are ready. We use that experience (of playing in IPL). Having said that, it will be a challenge for us to regroup in the format.

Rohit said that focus will be on the ICC World T20 which will be held in five months time. "The World Cup is round the corner so we have to make the most out of T20 games we play from now on. It will be a challenge for them (South Africa) as well, considering they have also not played a lot of T20 internationals," said the stylish right-hander.

India players play football during a practice session in Dharamsala yesterday. Pics/PTI
India players play football during a practice session in Dharamsala yesterday. Pics/PTI

South Africa T20 captain Faf du Plessis was pleasantly surprised that the tour opener will played on a fast and bouncy pitch here. When asked how India are preparing to face the visitors' pace attack, Rohit said the unit is focussing both on spin and pace. "It is not only pace. They have got quality spinners too. They will be effective here. It is better to focus on all aspects," he said referring to the Imran Tahir-led spin attack.

He went on to say that frequent overseas tours have helped the batsmen tackle pace better. "The last couple of years have really helped us as a batting unit because most of the games we played were outside India. That has given us a lot of confidence no matter what kind of attack we play. The tours that we had outside have really helped us getting evolved as a batting unit," Rohit pointed out.

Talking about the game on Friday, Rohit said the team is better prepared than South Africans, having come here earlier than scheduled. "We have gotten used to the conditions. We have practised really hard in last few days."

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