Captain Rohit Sharma conceded India's upcoming overseas tours will be challenging but added that the team is ready for tough tests in the next 18 months. The Mumbai batsman exuded confidence after the Men in Blue crushed Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the series decider of a three-match ODI series in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, December 17.
With the 2-1 win over the struggling islanders, India also completed their eighth straight ODI series win, thereby equalling the record set by Australia between 2009 and 2010. Notably, the number one-ranked ODI side has been unbeaten in bilateral series since January 2016.
However, most of their wins have come at home and only two on the road against the West Indies and Sri Lanka earlier this year.
Virat Kohli-led Indian team are expected to face sterner challenges when they start touring abroad. Notably, the Asian giants will be busy in the next 18 months, playing on the road against top teams.
Firstly, right after the upcoming three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, the in-form side will travel to South Africa for a long tour -- including three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is -- starting January 5.
"We are going abroad now, the next one and half year will be challenging as a team and I'm sure we are ready for it," Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony on Sunday.
'The hallmark of Indian team'
The Mumbai batsman, who is leading the side in the absence of Kohli, heaped praise on his teammates for the way they fought back after losing the first ODI by seven wickets against Thisara Perera's men in Dharamsala last Sunday.
Rohit himself led from the front in the second ODI in Mohali on Wednesday, scoring his third ODI double century as India crushed Sri Lanka by 141 runs.
Senior batsman Shikhar Dhawan shone with the bat in Visakhapatnam in the decider on Sunday after young wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal ran riot, bowling out Sri Lanka for a meagre 215 on a batsman-friendly track.
"Terrific comeback after the first game in Dharamsala. We showed plenty of character. Even today at one point they were going at 6 an over and to pull the game back from there is magnificent. This has been the hallmark of the team. Whenever we were defeated, we have always come back strong. As a captain, my job becomes a lot more easier that way. Very proud of the boys," Rohit said.
He added: "They [Kuldeep and Chahal] haven't bowled much together as bowlers, but whenever they have played, they bowled really well. They put us in the driver's seat, the way they played during the New Zealand and Australia series was beautiful. I hope, as a team, we can continue to do that."