Port of Spain: Ravichandran Ashwin rounded off the four-Test series with two centuries and 17 wickets and the India spinner said he had expected a handsome return from the tour of West Indies, which India wrapped up with a 2-0 win after the fourth match was abandoned.
The fourth Test ended in a frustrating draw yesterday with rain and wet outfield allowing no play on four consecutive days at the Queen’s Park Oval.
“Personally I would say that I expected this kind of series,” said Ashwin.
“Not necessarily one where I expected two hundreds but I knew batting contributions would be very important. I had no idea that I would be batting at number six before I got here. But I put in the hard work without any expectations back home for a month and half. And it really paid off.
“Expectations are something that help you reach greater heights. Going forward I think being Indian cricketers, expectations are something that you always expect and I hope I can live up to the expectations and keep winning games for the country,” he added.
Ashwin led the charts with his 235 runs, including two centuries, and 17 wickets, comprising two five-wicket hauls, that earned him the man-of-the-match award.
It was the sixth time he has earned this in a Test series, the most by an Indian cricketer, moving ahead of Virender Sehwag.
“I need to give West Indies a bit of credit. They get the top order quickly and allow me the time and opportunity. Most of the other teams give hundreds to the top order. It’s a psychological thing I reckon,” he said, with a smile.
“In this Test I was trying to get a good bowl in this match because personally I enjoy my five-wicket hauls more than my hundreds. I am not just saying for the sake of it. I really do mean it.
“The one hundred I would really relish and put it past a five-wicket haul is the one I got in Kolkata, and probably the one in St.Lucia. It is about the context of the game rather about getting runs or taking wickets,” he added.
However, the 29-year-old from Chennai did miss out on the 200-wickets mark in Test cricket, and also missed on becoming the joint quickest to get there, along with Australia’s Clarence Grimmette who got there in 36 Tests.
Ashwin now has 193 wickets in similar number of matches.
“To be honest I wasn’t close to it, just on the cusp of it. So I cannot really say how I would have felt about it. But now that’s gone and is under the carpet,” Ashwin said.
“Even if I didn’t achieve it, I tried and went in the pursuit of excellence. So maybe not 200, let me go for the quickest 300,” he quipped.
When asked about the changes in the playing eleven for this match, and the changed batting order, Ashwin said, “There was clear communication that they wanted to play seven batsmen in terms of trying to see how the combination would go.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get a game. If we had got a game we would have known how we would have worked it out. But the combination doesn’t really matter. As I said the context of the game and how much impact I can make on the game is what I keep looking for.”