Ravichandran Ashwin was named man of the series in India’s superb come-from-behind Test series triumph over England – but he still rates their triumph in Australia earlier this year as “the pinnacle”.
However, the spin master is hoping they’ll hit a new high later this year if India can be crowned the inaugural world Test champions at a neutral English venue.
India’s crushing of England by an innings and 25 runs in Ahmedabad on Saturday sealed their emphatic 3-1 series victory which had begun with a loss in Chennai.
It also ensured that Australia’s outside hopes of reaching the first World Test Championship final, scheduled between June 18 and 22 at a yet-to-be-decided venue, were finally dashed as India set up a final against New Zealand.
Ashwin, who was voted player of the series for his leading tally of 32 wickets not to mention a magnificent century in Chennai, was asked by former England spinner Graeme Swann after the match if beating Australia had been a bigger achievement than their latest home wins.
“Beating Australia in Australia has to be the pinnacle,” said Ashwin, who, because of injury, actually missed their thrilling win in January that handed Australia a first defeat at the Gabba since 1988 and clinched the four-Test series 2-1.
“But with the context of what’s happened here, because of the World Test Championship final, we had to win. We had to do what we had to do.”
Ashwin reckoned that, for those Indians in the team who didn’t feature in white-ball internationals, the chance to play in a red-ball world championship was not something to be sniffed at.
“Getting there is probably a result of what we’ve been as a team over the last eight, ten years. And an opportunity to get to the World Test Championship final is not a joke,” he said.
“For a lot of players inside the dressing room, who aren’t playing white-ball cricket – let’s take Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma, myself for the time being – for all of us, the World Test Championship final is as good as the World Cup.
“So it means a lot to us.”
Even captain Virat Kohli admitted that reaching the World Test final, which he had previously dismissed as a “distraction” for his side, was a big deal.
“Now we are in the final, which we can’t wait to be a part of,” he said.
We are all still in the hangover of the epic Test match series between India and Australia. It was something for the ages. The four Test matches were like a roller-coaster journey, full of ups and downs. We have heard enough of the Indians’ heroics in Melbourne, Sydney, and of course the Gabba. But from […]