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Not Giving Up Remains India’s Major Positive as Test Season Ends

Speaking about his recent success, Ashwin kept reiterating how happiness and joy have played a huge role.

Updated
Cricket
3 min read
R Ashwin and India celebrate the wicket of Joe Root on Day 3.
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After the Indian team crushed England to win the Test series 3-1 and book a place in the final of the World Test Championship on Saturday, 6 March, premier bowler Ravichandran Ashwin gave an insight into his mental configuration in the last few months.

On Saturday, Ashwin became the first Indian bowler to pick 30 wickets in a series twice. Speaking about his recent success, Ashwin kept reiterating how happiness and joy have played a huge role.

Differentiating between desperation, contentment, and happiness, Ashwin went on to describe and define how each mindset can invariably impact a player’s performance on the field.

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The last four months and eight Test matches have seen the cricketers go through a myriad of experiences and emotions in tough situations . But in their refusal to settle and just be content, the team stamped their legacy in what turned out to be a memorable Test season with plenty of happy memories.

Grinding It Out for the Sake of Process

The duo of Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli combined to lead Team India. In their strict appreciation for Test cricket and their single-minded aim to make India the best Test team in the world, both Shastri and Kohli were not bothered by a few defeats as long as they were certain the lessons from the game would help in the overall improvement of the side.

The tour to South Africa and the initial spell from Bhuvneshwar Kumar highlighted what the fast bowlers could achieve.

The series against England in 2018 saw the side constantly come up short in pressure situations but the belief that they were the best Indian Test team never disappeared. The games against Australia at the end of that year were historical but a few chinks remained, the biggest of which was the inability of the tail to contribute in crucial moments.

Ashwin improved his fitness and would often be seen bowling newer variations in domestic games. Axar Patel analysed his weaknesses that kept him out for three years. Shubman Gill worked on overcoming his fear of bouncers. Rohit Sharma looked to curb his white-ball instincts.

Washington Sundar failed the Yo-Yo Test in 2017 and was determined to never fall behind again. Mohammad Siraj ignored the naysayers and continued his red-ball progress and T Natarajan perfected the ability to take pace off the ball as he sent down yorker after yorker after yorker.

Learning From Failure

The recent Test season that ended with series wins in Australia and England saw all the toil bear fruit as Pant finished off games without losing his natural instinct. Ashwin learnt from his failure in England when he had been overshadowed by part-timer Moeen Ali and excelled overseas in Ravindra Jadeja’s absence.

Axar and his variations bamboozled the English team, while Gill’s monk-like focus against the faster bowlers in Australia made him a sensation overnight. Sundar’s batting was a revelation and Siraj rose up the pecking order. Natarajan and his pin-point deliveries left a mark, and it all combined to provide us with four months of memorable Test cricket.

Through the lows of the 36 all-out to the highs of Gabba and the class-act at Motera, Team India found new heroes whenever they were thrown in the abyss. T20 superstars proved their love for Test cricket, the tail managed to churn out match-winning runs, bowlers made the best use of the conditions and the batsmen raised their game when the team was in dire straits.

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An Inspiration to All

Opponents literally left them bruised and battered. Former cricketers questioned their skills. The pitch was touted as a reason for their success. The Anil Kumble-led committee changed the rules midway through the World Test Championship, which made it tough for India to enter the finals despite leading the points table. Sledged, racially abused, and living in a bio-bubble for almost eight months would have mentally scarred them but in their refusal to find excuses, Team India emerged as an inspiration to all around.

Team India did not take the field to just fill up the numbers. Here was a side that refused to get intimidated and make excuses. Here was a team of high-achievers that was not merely content. They wanted to reach the zenith and ended up right there as they booked a place in the Finals alongside New Zealand to culminate a Test season that had plenty of action, but most importantly, had plenty of joy.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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