India’s tour of South Africa didn’t produce the sort of result the team was hoping for as Rohit Sharma’s side lost the first Test by a huge margin, squandering a big opportunity to win a series in South Africa. India’s poor show in the Test series opener prompted former England captain to brand the team one of the most ‘underachieving’ in world cricket. Vaughan’s statement even made some former Indian cricketers echoe his comments but veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin isn’t in agreement.

Ashwin, in a video on his YouTube channel, issued a fiery response, saying such a comment ‘made him laugh’ considering how well India have done in world cricket, especially in the Test format.

“Michael Vaughan made a statement after the first Test that India is an underachieving team. Yes, we haven’t won ICC trophies for years. We call ourselves the powerhouses of the game. But the Test team has been one of the best traveling teams in the vicinity. We have seen many great results,” Ashwin said in response.

“After he said that, so many experts from our own country started questioning if India is an underachieving team. Frankly, it made me laugh. Picture yourself. Just reverse the situation. SA batted first in this Test after winning the toss. If SA had batted first after winning the toss in Centurion, wasn’t there a chance they could have gotten all out by 65? Even India was staring at the barrel at 20/3, thanks to Virat and Shreyas’ partnership from there to save us.”

“So, both cricket and Test cricket are differentiated by fine margins. In a country like India, where we talk cricket in every nook and cranny and consider the sport a religion, I feel we criticize and nitpick too much and get into unnecessary details. I think these are blinding us,” said Ashwin.

Vaughan had said Fox Sports in response to a question from former Australia batter Mark Waugh: “They haven’t won much in recent times. I think they are (an underachieving side). They don’t win anything. When was the last time they won something? With all the talent they have, all the skill-set (they should have achieved more.”

Though Ashwin admitted that India lost two World Test Championship finals in a row, he feels they have done really well when it comes to overseas assignments in the longest format of the game.

“What we need to understand is that it is still a sport. The fact is that a quality cricket team with good mental fortitude and mental skills can make a comeback from wherever they are, and this Indian team has time and again proved it. Yes, we lost two WTC finals. I accept it wholeheartedly. But in the case of Test series, a comeback is always possible.”

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