Chief architect of India's rare 5-0 clean sweep over New Zealand, India opener KL Rahul on Sunday said he is not yet thinking about the T20 World Cup but wants to carry his sparkling form into the big event. The 27-year-old from Karnataka was named the Player of the Tournament for scoring 224 runs in the five-match series at an average of 56.
"I am batting really well now and I am happy to do the roles I am doing for my side. Not thinking too much about the T20 World Cup at the moment, but hopefully I can continue batting this way," he said.
The T20 World Cup will be held in Australia from October 18 to November 15. India notched up a rare 5-0 whitewash over New Zealand with a seven-run win in the fifth and final T20 International and Rahul said the team's ability to find answers in difficult situations was the key to its success.
"I am pleased. It is great to be standing here winning 5-0. Very happy that my performances could result in victories for India. We were happy to come into this series with confidence and to keep executing our skills every game. We came up with answers from every situation and it is a great result for me and the side," he said.
"I think it is a winning habit that we have cultivated wherein we want to win every time we step onto the ground. As a team we keep believing in each other. Leading up to the World Cup, there were a few strategies that we wanted to try out. It just keeps giving us more and more confidence to keep going around."
India will next play three ODIs against New Zealand beginning on February 5 and Rahul said they will follow the same process to achieve success in the 50-over format. "We'll relax a little bit over the next couple of days and enjoy the victory. But once we start with the next series, the process will remain the same," he said.
"We want to win games of cricket every time we go out. The kind of cricket we are playing is fun to watch and we hope to keep repeating this."
'Driven by common goal of winning together'
"Playing with each other we are enjoying a lot for the last 2-3 years and we help each other out. There is no senior-junior in the dressing room, we have a common goal and that is to win together for the country and the team," said Rahul at the post match press conference.
"Travelling away and winning a series 5-0 doesn't happen too often. So the next couple of days we will enjoy that, put our feet up and relax. Obviously we have the confidence going into the ODIs, we have been doing well for the past couple of years. Recent form for 3-4 months has been great too, personally as well as a team we have been doing well."
"Every day I wake up and every day I have been thrown into the game, I am very grateful and loving the challenges that are being thrown at me. Enjoying my cricket and was great to see how we responded without our leaders when both Virat and Rohit weren't on the park and there were a lot of question marks.
"The way we performed, I might have been the captain but the way all of them were involved, every one knew what to do."
The scores have gone lower as the series has progressed. Rahul said it was credit to India's bowling attack to keep a check on the New Zealand batsmen. "Everyone performed as a unit and we have always come out with the answers. The execution level is increasing and they are staying calm. Yuzvendra Chahal and Bumrah are senior bowlers and they have done it before, but Shardul, Saini and Sundar today, they did well and held their own.
"Bowlers are now fearless with experimenting and are not worried about getting hit. It is important to have that mind set in T20 cricket. Today too, without Virat, I couldn't really do much behind the stumps. I cannot run every ball. They were coming up with their own plans. It was great to see they know what to do and more often than not they did what they wanted to."
India will next play three ODIs against New Zealand beginning on February 5 and Rahul said they will follow the same process to achieve success in the 50-over format. "We'll relax a little bit over the next couple of days and enjoy the victory. But once we start with the next series, the process will remain the same. We want to win games of cricket every time we go out. The kind of cricket we are playing is fun to watch and we hope to keep repeating this."