Virat Kohli message Ashwin
India emerged victorious by 8 wickets, with Ashwin setting it up with a spell on Day 1 that accounted for Steve Smith for a duck.
“Well, he is one of the most vital parts of this team. After Melbourne, I sent him a text that this is the best I have seen you bowl overseas ever. I remember we had a conversation in Adelaide as well, I said not people remember these small moments, in the first innings where Saha and Ash came out not out, Ash’s intent was something that stood out for me,” Kohli told Star Sports.
Ashwin made a crucial contribution with the bat too in the series. His marathon partnership with Hanuma Vihari helped India draw the Sydney Test. Ashwin had been in poor form with the bat over the last two years, but prior to that he was a key batsman who has four Test centuries.
“He had a conversation with us in the nets about his batting. We both said ‘you have so much more to provide for this team with the bat. That was one of your strengths. When we looked at you, we always felt like 30-35 guaranteed every innings’,” Kohli said.
“If he gets going, he will score a crucial 70-80′. So, suddenly you saw his body language. It was like ‘Hold on, this is my time, my tour now with the bat and with the ball’.”
Kohli himself had missed the last three Tests for paternity leave.
“Firstly I don’t think the two can be compared. Becoming a father has been and will remain the greatest moment in my life, in both our lives. That is something to be experienced to understand what I am saying,” Kohli had said in the pre-match press conference.
“Secondly, the connection to the team does not go away in any situation. Especially when you have given everything to the team. Especially when you have worked for the last six years on a daily basis to take Indian cricket on top.
“The last Test, I remember when Shardul and Sundar were having a partnership, I was watching it on my phone just before we had to go when the doctor called us so. That is how connected you are to the team and how much you are looking forward to the guys doing well.
“What happened was purely out of determination, grit and belief to achieve what they ended up achieving.
“That is going to remain in hearts and minds of Indian cricket fans forever. Whether I was part of it or not, to me it doesn’t matter as much as it matters to the Indian cricket team and the whole country.
“That moment will be the most special in our lives forever,” said Kohli.