"Turnaround Started From 2014....": Ravichandran Ashwin Reflects On Qualification To 2nd Successive WTC Final
India will take on Australia in the World Test Championship final at The Oval from June 7 onwards
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma and other key members of the Indian squad for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final match against Australia, reflected on their side's journey in 2021-23 cycle, which saw them play "some tough cricket' on their way to the final. Rohit, Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mohammed Shami reflected on India's journey to the final of the WTC, which will be played at The Oval from June 7 onwards in a video posted by BCCI.
"After the WTC final in Southampton (Against New Zealand in 2021 which India lost), we quickly had to regroup and prepare for the next cycle. I thought in that cycle, we played some tough cricket and were challenged a lot of times. I knew that coming out of it, was going to take a lot of character from all. It is a cycle of two years, a lot of players played. Different individuals stepped up for us. Standing here and realising that we are in the final, we are happy. All the effort put in for two years has come to the fore. Job is not done, we have to get the best result in the final," said Rohit in the video.
Talking about the team's journey over these two years, middle-order batter Cheteshwar Pujara said, "It has been a great journey. Over the last two years, a lot of players have contributed to our journey. Though they are not a part of the squad right now, it is important that they are recognised too. It has been a great team effort. We are excited to play at The Oval. We have got great memories against England in the UK. It has been a great journey for our Test team. We lost to NZ, but we are looking forward to playing against Australia. They have been great competitors. This time, we are well-prepared."
Veteran pacer Mohammed Shami also expressed happiness at his side's advancement to the final and admitted that the team is well-prepared this time.
"We feel happy since we have reached final for the second time. We did some mistakes last time. But we are well-prepared. The best part is that there is no home team advantage," said Shami.
Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said that a turnaround in India's Test form came back in 2014 after the retirement of former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni after which the youngsters, inexperienced players stepped up.
"It has been a wonderful journey. There are some players playing for the last decade or so. The turnaround in Test cricket for India started in 2014-15. MS Dhoni had just retired and we had the experience of 20 Test matches, and it is never easy without seniors. But we did really well and now have qualified for WTC Final for the second time," said Ashwin.
The Indian squad for the WTC final: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (wk).
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Mukesh Kumar and Suryakumar Yadav have been named as stand-by players for the high-stakes match.