Team India stalwart Ravichandran Ashwin feels that a combined effort will be more than enough to qualify for the World Test Championship (WTC) final for the second time running. The Men in Blue are on the cusp of qualification with only one hurdle remaining in the form of a rampant Australian side led by Pat Cummins.
The two teams are slated to compete in a four-match Test series in India during the February-March window. Australia's last red-ball tour of India came in 2017 when the Men in Blue executed an inspired 2-1 comeback to win the series.
With South Africa and Sri Lanka sliding down the standings, Team India's fate rests in their own hands.
Admitting that he is not taking pressure upon himself over Team India's qualification hopes for the WTC final, the off-spinner said in an interview with the New Indian Express:
"I think I'm well past the stage where I say I'm taking so much responsibility or getting pressurized or bogged down by all these things."
I mean, we should also be able to share our workload and lean on our teammates to do the job. We've got a quality set up that, I expect, will help us deliver."
India last lost a Test series to Australia during the 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under. Since then, the Men in Blue have notched three successive series wins, out of which two have come away from home on a successive basis.
"I am someone who lives for the big moments and pressure moments" - Ravichandran Ashwin
The senior spinner recently proved his worth with an exceptional display in the second Test against Bangladesh in December 2022.
His all-round contribution, which included six wickets and a nerveless 42 under extreme pressure in the fourth innings, helped India to a 2-0 series win.
Commenting on the perennial pressure of playing for India, Ashwin said:
"When you play for India, expectations are going to be there. You're bound to have expectations. But you can't allow that to bog yourself down. You know, I am someone who lives for the big moments and pressure moments."
The 2023 Border-Gavaskar trophy will begin on February 9 with the first Test in Nagpur. Australia have only lost one Test in the ongoing WTC cycle.
Pat Cummins and Co. have largely done well on the subcontinent in recent times with solid tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2022 and are currently enjoying a ruthless home season.
Will Ravichandran Ashwin be a game-changer for India in the 2023 Border-Gavaskar trophy? Let us know what you think.
Also Read: "I'm expecting Jadeja to come through, but I like expanding more angles" - Ravichandran Ashwin on the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy
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