“Rahul bhai’s speech after the…” Ashwin mentions one key moment during India’s journey to WTC 2023 Final

India will lock horns with Australia in the WTC Final at the Oval from June 7 to 11.

R Ashwin | GettyVeteran off-spinner R Ashwin revealed one particular behind-the-scenes moment that he believes to be the turning point during India’s journey to the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final.

The Rohit Sharma-led side will lock horns with Australia in the WTC Final at the Oval in London from June 7 to 11.

“We’ve had our moments in this last cycle, especially where we could have been knocked out quite a few times and have just held tight,” Ashwin quoted as saying by ICC.

“I think the moment of the WTC, I don’t know irrespective of what happens in this game, would be Rahul (Dravid) bhai’s speech after the Bangladesh Test that we had at Mirpur.

“I think we were just going to be knocked out of the WTC race in that particular Test, so we finished the game and I came out and was really pumped up, I don’t think we expected... nobody expected us to win, even inside the dressing room.

“Rahul just said, ‘It was a great game of cricket and Ash, we were never in doubt’.

"That is probably the moment of the WTC cycle as far as I’m concerned.”

In his illustrious Test career, Ashwin has scripted some of India’s famous victories with the ball. However, he played a key role with the bat to help his team pull off a thrilling three-wicket win over Bangladesh in the Mirpur Test last December.

Chasing 145 to win, the visitors were reeling at 74/7. Amid the pressure situation, Ashwin produced an unbeaten knock of 42 and added an unbeaten 71-run stand with Shreyas Iyer (29*) to take India over the finishing line.

“Like he said, we were never in doubt, even though we went through the ride," Ashwin said.

“I think in the last cycle we really quite dominated and got into the Final. This time we’ve had our ups and downs, and that’s probably why I think this particular game could be lucky number two for us.”

India lost to New Zealand by eight wickets in the inaugural WTC final in Southampton two years ago. Ashwin expects India to put up a better show this time around after their learnings in 2021.

“England will be cold! That’s the one learning from that game - it was cold, it was freezing,” Ashwin stated.

“But I don’t think you can draw back, I mean you can’t even draw back into the last series that you played, and that is way back in the pecking order as far as we’re concerned in terms of how long ago the game was played.

“We played a Test series against England post that. We came back and finished a fifth Test against them at Edgbaston. So we’ve had a bit of experience here in England, like Australia would have done through the Ashes. I think we know what to expect."

“The Oval is one place that is probably a little different to some of the other tougher venues in England in terms of lateral movement," Ashwin said.

"So I think we’ve prepared okay. I’m sure there are nerves on both sides, so the team who are going to capitalise on the early nerves of the other is going to come out on top.”

(With ICC Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 06 Jun, 2023

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