rohit sharma
Rohit Sharma is keen to win the ODI series against South Africa.LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty

India's preparations for the ICC World Cup 2019 begin in South Africa on Thursday (February 1), according to team's vice-captain Rohit Sharma.

After losing the Test series 1-2, Virat Kohli-led India are keen to win the six-match ODI rubber and create history. Durban will be the venue for the opening contest.

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Speaking to the media ahead of the first game, Rohit felt these matches are good to prepare for the quadrennial showpiece event in England.

"Absolutely. I believe so (preparations for World Cup 2019). It will be a great way to start the series thinking about 2019 World Cup in England, knowing that we will play lot of cricket overseas," Rohit said today (January 30).

He continued, "As far as individuals are concerned they have been given specific roles. It is a long way to go for the World Cup, one and half years. There will be a lot of games which we play. It is important how each individual thinks about what he wants to do. Yes, it will be a good preparation."

India have never won a bilateral ODI series in South Africa and Rohit is keen to change that record.

"We want to win each series we play and not thinking about the World Cup right now. Yes, at the back of our minds it will always be there. We can test ourselves as to how we respond to situations. Every individual knows that they have to perform to make their claim into the side (for World Cup).

"The preparation is on its way and we want to win the series. That is the most important thing. Last time we lost the series and before that as well. We want to change it around. This will be probably our best time to do that," the opening batsman said.

The 30-year-old right-hander, who hit a world record third ODI double century last month against Sri Lanka, said the current Indian team can do well under pressure.

"We are very keen to win the series. It is a long series. It has been a while since we played a six-match series. We have to take one game at a time. It is important to do a lot of things right. There will be times when we will be put under pressure but as a team we have shown that we can absorb that pressure and we can come back.

"At the same time when we put back pressure on the opposition they tend to crumble. So we are going to play that game. Try and use that to our advantage," he said.