Ashwin ahead of WTC final: India’s turnaround in Tests started after Dhoni’s retirement

Ashwin ahead of WTC final: India’s turnaround in Tests started after Dhoni’s retirement

  • India are set to play Australia in WTC final
  • WTC final is scheduled to begin on June 7 at The Oval
  • Rohit is set to lead India in WTC final for the first time

India’s all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin has said that India’s turnaround in Tests started in 2014 after MS Dhoni’s retirement.

Ashwin’s comments have come ahead of India’s encounter with Australia next month in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, which is India’s second straight WTC final. Under Virat Kohli, India lost the summit clash to New Zealand in 2021.

WTC 2021-23 final is scheduled to begin on June 7 at The Oval, London.

In regards to playing two back-to-back WTC finals, Ashwin said it was a “no mean feat.”

"The turnaround definitely started in 2014. MS Dhoni had just retired and we had all played for a few Tests... and we had to start a journey of our own. Never easy without the seniors, but I can comfortably say that all the efforts we have put in have come really to fruition over the last two cycles of WTC,” Ashwin said in a video posted by BCCI.

"We are qualifying for the second time on the trot [for the WTC finals]. It is no mean feat. We would have loved to win the series in India 3-1 or 3-0 or whatever it is but Australia played some good cricket. We weren't able to do that. However, for the consistent cricket we have played, we've been rewarded with this final," added Ashwin.

Rohit: Different individuals stepped up and delivered

India captain Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, heaped praise on his side ahead of the WTC final, saying a lot of individuals showed a lot of character and stepped up whenever the team needed them to.

"I thought in that cycle we played some really, really tough cricket. We were challenged a lot of times and I thought to come out of that was obviously going to take a lot of character from not just a few individuals, but everyone," said Rohit, who is set to captain in a WTC final for the first time.

"It's a cycle of two years and we play a lot of Test matches during that period. Lot(s) of players have played in that cycle. Different individuals have stepped up, putting the performances that we were looking for from the individual," added Rohit in the same video.

India will head into the 2021-23 WTC without the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer - all of whom have had a significant role in India reaching the final.

Pujara: Last couple of years have been good for India in Tests

Speaking about the trio, India’s No. 3 Test batter Cheteshwar Pujara said the team should not forget Bumrah, Pant, and Iyer’s contributions.

"There have been many players who have contributed to the team. Some of them are not part of this squad currently, but it's important that we recognise all the players that have contributed in this cycle.

"It's been a great team effort... the team management, captain, everyone has been looking forward to this moment where we qualify for the WTC finals and the guys are really excited to play at The Oval. We've got some good memories playing against England in UK. Overall, if I look at the last couple of years, it's been a very good journey for the Indian Test team," added Pujara.

India finished second in the WTC table this cycle, bagging 58.8% of the total points available. Australia finished first securing 66.67 of the points. The two teams recently met in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with India winning the four-match series 2-1 at home.

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