Rahul led the tourists to a seven-wicket win in the final T20I at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. The result gave the Indians a five-nil series win. New Zealand and India will start a three-ODI series later this week. Bet365 have India offered at 1.44 to win Wednesday's first ODI in Hamilton.
“It was a special feeling, leading your country is always the second dream – the first one's of course to play for your country. It was unfortunate what happened to Rohit. Every day I wake up, everyday I'm thrown a new responsibility. I'm very grateful and I'm loving the challenges being thrown at me. It was great to see how we responded without our main leaders – Rohit and Virat,” said Rahul.
The talented opening batsman was named Player of the Series on the back of 224 runs in five innings, which included two half-centuries. He might be pushed into the middle order for the ODI series.
Rahul in ODI cricket
“I haven't really thought about it – batting in the middle-order in the ODIs – yet. Travelling and winning a series five-nil doesn't happen often, so we're just going to enjoy that for the next couple of days; put our feet up and relax for a little while,” added Rahul.
“Obviously we have the confidence, we have been doing well in ODIs and the recent form in the last three to four months has been great too. Personally and as a team we have been performing phenomenally well. We don't really plan much. All of us know what we need to do, all of us know what our strengths are so we try to stick to our strengths.”
India have been grouped with England, South Africa, Afghanistan and two qualifying teams for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. They won the inaugural T20 World Cup (previously known as the World Twenty20) in 2007. They will host the T20 World Cup in 2021.
“We're a young team, love spending time with each other, and there is absolutely no divide between the seniors and the juniors. We all have a common goal – to win games of cricket. We are all focused on winning the T20 World Cup – that's a common goal, and we're trying to maximise our preparations for the World Cup,” concluded Rahul.