After India lost the Day/Night Test against Australia in Adelaide — all out for 36 — a lot was written and said on the players by the Australian media. In fact, several current and former players said that Australia will clean sweep India as Virat Kohli was set to leave for India on paternity leave.
Recently, Team India off-spinner R Ashwin, in a recent interaction with India Today, said that talks of 4-0 whitewash after the defeat and the departure of Kohli were hurtful. He revealed that even the most experienced players of the side had to deal with people saying that the team didn’t exist beyond that first Test.
After Virat returned home for the birth of his first child, Ashwin further stated that he was one of those who wondered how the team would handle the departure of their leader. He added that quite a few, especially the Australian media and former players, had completely written off India’s chances.
“After the first Test, a lot of people were talking about one particular fact which I think was huge at that point in time. Even as a player, I was thinking about it. We were going to miss out on No. 4 and the talisman of our country, Virat Kohli for the next Test,” he said.
“Imagine the gravity of the situation where you have lost a Test by miles, getting bowled out for 36 and you’re losing your premier batsman and captain for the next Test,” Ashwin added.
“But what was very interesting was the number of people that were talking about how that particular departure of Virat Kohli from that team environment would completely collapse the team.
“They were talking about Virat leaving and hence this team ‘has no chance, 4-0 whitewash’ etc, etc. A lot of things were being spoken about. I read a few of them after the Melbourne victory because I saved it up and not give too much thought to negativity,” he stated.
India, against all odds, won the series 2-1. Speaking on the same, he explained that India were able to “beautifully channelize the hurt” and play with conviction in the remainder of the series. India’s win in the second and fourth Test ( Melbourne and Brisbane) came on either side of a draw in the third Test (Sydney).
“But it was interesting, when you look at that dressing room, the kind of results the team has achieved over the last decade or so is not ordinary.
“And we had people who had played 60, 70, and 80 Tests sitting inside the dressing room, having won a lot of matches on their own and still having to deal with people saying that the team literally didn’t exist beyond that first Test.”
“It was hurtful to a point and I think that hurt was channelized beautifully by the team, both internally and externally. That’s what came out.
“We have been quietly confident and maybe people didn’t take notice of it. And it’s about time we perform and make people understand who we have been over the years,” he concluded.