Ravichandran Ashwin says playing in the World Test Championship final will be on par with competing in the Cricket World Cup for many of India’s players.
Ashwin singled out veteran seamer Ishant Sharma for special praise. A veteran of 101 Tests and 80 ODIs, Sharma has never played in a Cricket World Cup. He was unfortunately ruled out of the 2015 edition in Australia after suffering an injury just before the start of the tournament.
“For a lot of players in that dressing room it means a lot,” Ashwin said of making the WTC final after his five-wicket haul helped India wrap up the fourth match against England.
“Some of them have not played in a Cricket World Cup. It will be like the Cricket World Cup for most of them.
“I’m so very happy for someone like Ishant Sharma, who got selected in the 2015 Cricket World Cup and he couldn’t play because he was ruled out due to injury towards the last minute. For someone like him to get to the World Test Championship final would mean the world.
“I’m incredibly happy for him and many of the others for whom it means a lot.”
Ashwin said India’s spot in the final was the culmination of 10 years’ work rather than just their success in the past two years.
India secured their place in the final by beating England 3-1 in the recently concluded series, finishing on top of the WTC ladder after picking up 72.2 per cent of the points available to them.
“It is the result of the kind of work that we have put in over the last 10 years’ time,” Ashwin said.
“The World Test Championship was announced and obviously we have really fought hard. We have played six-seven series and we’ve literally got most of the points, we’ve lost about three (four) Tests in the entire cycle.”
Speaking to BCCI.TV, India captain Virat Kohli said his side were looking forward to the final after putting in the hard yards to finish on top of the standings.
“We are quite relieved now that we have made the final,” Kohli said.
“If you look at the last two years, two and a half years, how we have played, we deserve to be in that final. Now it’s just about getting together as a group again and focusing on that one big game, which is quite exciting for all of us.”
That sentiment was echoed by Rohit Sharma, who was India’s top-scorer in the series against England.
“It has been a long journey since the World Test Championship started,” Rohit said. “We’ve played cricket well in India, we’ve played cricket well outside India as well.
“We were put under pressure, we were put in that difficult situation many times. We responded well to those situations, which is why we stand here qualified for the final. We deserve the qualification. The credit goes to the entire squad and the staff as well.”
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