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Rohit Sharma eyes World Cup glory for India; provides update on Bumrah

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India jumped to the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Team Rankings after their 3-0 whitewash win over New Zealand.

India were fourth in the rankings before the start of the series but have now displaced New Zealand and England at the top. England were temporarily on the summit after New Zealand's defeat in the second ODI but India's victory in the third match means Jos Buttler's men have slipped to second.

India lead the way with 114 rating points while England are second with 113 rating points. Australia move up into third place with 112 rating points while New Zealand, who were on top at the start of the series, drop to fourth with 111 rating points. 

India were already the top-ranked team in T20Is and have now become No.1 but captain Rohit Sharma made it clear that the team's focus is on the preparation for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup that is scheduled to be held in India later this year.

"Honestly, rankings don't matter," Rohit Sharma said at the post-match press conference. "I saw that before this (series), we were fourth (in ODI team rankings). I don't know how we were fourth, firstly. And we honestly don't look too much into it. We are preparing for the big event. All these games that we play will lead up for us to go into that big event.

"We want to be ready. We are playing at home, there are a few challenges that we need to be ready for. Few combinations (we need to test) as well. It gives us a great opportunity to do all of that before the World Cup.

"But again, all these games and series that you win, you get lots of confidence. And that's what we want."

India moved to the top of the ICC Men's ODI Rankings
India moved to the top of the ICC Men's ODI Rankings

India displayed similar dominance in the T20I format last year leading up to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 but failed to go all the way, falling short in the semi-final against England. Rohit Sharma hopes that he can turn India's fortunes around in his second limited-overs tournament as captain later this year. 

"When we went to the T20 World Cup, we won everything leading up except the Asia Cup. But when we went there, we were quite confident of doing well. Unfortunately, things didn't go our way but that can happen. But there's another opportunity for us. We just want to be ready," Rohit added.

"All these games that we play, we want to be ticking all the boxes that are there."

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Dominant England seal final berth with easy win over India | Match Highlights | T20WC 2022
Match Highlights: England beat India by a resounding 10 wickets to seal a meeting with Pakistan in the final of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.

One of the players who's going to be crucial to India's chances of winning the World Cup is Jasprit Bumrah. The ace pacer has been battling issues with his back and last played international cricket in September 2022.

His return was announced for the ODI series against Sri Lanka but his name was later withdrawn as he complained of stiffness in his back days before his slated return. The latest setback saw him miss the ODI series against New Zealand as well as the upcoming T20I series and the first two matches of the Border-Gavaskar series against Australia in February.

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Rohit provided an update on Bumrah's return, once again stressing that they wouldn't make a hasty decision considering India's packed calendar this year that could include a World Test Championship Final and then the 50-over World Cup.

"About Bumrah, I am not too sure at the moment. The first two Test matches, he is not going to be available, I am hoping that he next two Test matches, but again, we don't want to take any risk with him," the India captain said.

"Back injuries are always, always critical. We have got a lot of cricket coming up after that (Border-Gavaskar series) as well. We'll monitor.

"We are in constant touch with the physios and the doctors at the NCA and we are constantly hearing from them."

Before the all-important Test series against Australia, India will play a three-match T20I series against New Zealand, starting 27 January in Ranchi. Hardik Pandya will lead the team in the absence of several senior players, including Rohit Sharma, who have rested in preparation for the Border-Gavaskar series.

 

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