‘Being Indian cricketers, expectations are something that you always expect and I hope I can live up to the expectations.’
Ravichandran Ashwin, who scored two centuries and took 17 wickets in the just-concluded four-Test series against the West Indies, says he had expected a handsome return from the tour, which India won 2-0 after the fourth match in Trinidad was abandoned.
The fourth Test ended in a frustrating draw on Monday as the umpires ruled the soggy outfield at the Queen's Park Oval unfit to play on following rain on the opening day.
"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 (West Indies). 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 235 runs, including two centuries, and 17 wickets, comprising two five-wicket hauls, that earned him the man-of-the-series award.
It was the sixth time he won 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 (fourth) 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."
However, the 29-year-old from Chennai did miss out on the 200-wickets mark in Test cricket and becoming the joint quickest to get there, along with Australia's Clarence Grimmette who attained the milestone in 36 Tests.
"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," said Ashwin, who has 193 wickets from 36 Tests.
"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."
Asked about the changes in the playing eleven for the fourth Test, and the changed batting order, he replied: "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."