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Indian captain Rohit Sharma (centre) defends his players after the series loss against Australia. Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: India captain Rohit Sharma said his teammates should consider skipping the occasional match during the Indian Premier League (IPL) to manage their workload ahead of the Cricket World Cup on home soil later this year.

A recurring back injury kept middle order batter Shreyas Iyer out of the home one-day series against Australia, which the tourists won 2-1 on Wednesday, while pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah has been out since September due to back issues.

Rohit acknowledged that IPL sides will look to field their best team in every match and said it was up to the players to look after themselves ahead of the World Cup in October-November.

Break for one or two games

“It’s all up to the franchises now. They own them now,” Rohit, who leads Mumbai Indians in the IPL, told reporters after India’s 21-run loss in Chennai on Wednesday.

“We have given some indications to the teams but at the end of the day, it’s up to the franchises, and more importantly, it’s up to the players.

“They are all adults, they have to look after their bodies.

“If they feel it’s getting a bit too much, they can talk about it and take a break in one or two games. I doubt if that will happen.”

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Suryakumar Yadav had a series to forget after getting three ducks, dismissed off the first three deliveries. Image Credit: ANI

Unfortunate dismissals

In terms of form, Rohit played down the struggles of Suryakumar Yadav during the ODI series, the world’s top ranked T20 batter falling for a first-ball duck in each of the three matches.

“I don’t know how much to look into it. He got three good balls, to be honest,” Rohit said.

“He plays spin so well… That’s why we held him back and gave him that role for the last 15-20 overs where he can play his game, but it’s really unfortunate he could only play three balls. That can happen to anyone.”

Attacking approach

Captain Rohit Sharma backed his team’s attacking approach despite the ODI series loss against Australia and promised that his side will continue to attack at all costs with the bat during the lead-up to the World Cup.

India’s aggressive style while batting again proved their downfall as they fell to a 21-run loss to Australia in the third and final ODI in Chennai on Wednesday night, a result that ultimately cost Rohit’s side the series and the No 1 ODI team ranking.

Australia have 113.286 rating points compared to the Men in Blue’s 112.638. Before the start of the final ODI, India were on top with 114 rating points to Australia’s 112.

Fearless cricket

There were a host of experienced performers that holed out during India’s run chase at MA Chidambaram Stadium when a cautious approach may have been deemed more suitable, but Rohit wants his team to keep playing aggressively in 50-over cricket.

“We have always talked about fearless cricket. If someone feels they can take the bowlers on, we have given them complete freedom to do that,” Rohit said after the loss.

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Australia bounced back from losing the first match to clinch the ODI series and also the No 1 ranking. Image Credit: ANI

“While doing that, there is a big possibility that they might not be able to achieve what they want to achieve, which is fair, and fine by us. You will learn from that. We will definitely not judge based on a couple of poor shots. All these guys have lots of potential, they can play these shots whenever they want and we want to keep encouraging them to go out there and do it often,” he added.

Collective failure

While reluctant to single out India players that underperformed during the series, Rohit instead praised Australia for their efforts of bouncing back after losing the opening match of the series.

“It’s a collective failure and we can take a lot of learnings from this series. But credit to the Australians. Both the spinners applied the pressure, and so did their seamers,” the Indian skipper said.

“You are born and brought up on these wickets. Sometimes you need to apply yourself and give yourself a chance,” he added.