India offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed he could have played the fourth and final Test against Australia at The Gabba but for an unfortunate turn of events that pushed him to the bench. Ashwin had picked up an injury during the third Test but he ensured India drew the contest batting despite a sore back the prevented him from sitting or even bend to tie his shoe laces.

Now, in an interview, the veteran cricketer has said that his recovery process suffered a roadblock as the access to the pool was cut off ahead of the fourth Test. “It was looking good for the fourth Test, it looked like I would play. But there was an unfortunate turn of events. Even pool access was cut,” Ashwin was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.

He continued, “The pool is an important activity in the recovery process. The physio also felt if the recovery process was in place, there was a good chance to play. It was a freakish injury. After that 1-1 draw, things took a U-turn. The way things happened in Sydney and Brisbane, we had to quarantine. Sometimes it was questionable. There was insensitivity around people commenting on why we were complaining. The rules were not such. It looked like off the beat. Being the tour it was, we buckled down and put on a good show.”

India fielded a bowling attack with a combined Test experience of three Tests in Brisbane after all their first-choice bowlers were lost to various fitness issues. They overcame the impediments and went on to win the Test by three wickets.

Ashwin picked 12 wickets in in the series including thrice getting the better of Steve Smith. Such was his hold over the Australia batting superstar that even he admitted the Indian was ‘dictating terms’ something he has never allowed any bowler to do before.

When asked if this was the best he has bowled in Australia, Ashwin replied, “Looking back you can say that but I personally think that this is just another dimension of cricket that I’m seeing myself in. I’ve always maintained that you cannot really say this is the best or anything, you never know something else could lie in front of you.”

In fact, the 34-year-old says he wasn’t sure of even playing the first Test in Adelaide but an injury to Ravindra Jadeja pushed him up in the pegging order. “It didn’t look like I was going to start the series, in all honesty. Because Jaddu damaged his hamstring and that is why I got my opportunity in the first Test. For me, things fell in place and I also have been feeling over the last two years I have been bowling well, how it’s come out of the hand,” he said.

Apart from his bowling, Ashwin’s batting drew praise which has been in decline with his last fifty coming against Sri Lanka in 2017. He says the criticism is not justified.

“There have been questions raised over my batting since the West Indies tour. But one more thing that needs to go into consideration is I was playing all formats of the game and sometimes roles of people just playing Test cricket alone changes,” he said.

“I feel when I’ve just been playing Test cricket, it’s pretty much one game here or there and I’m constantly fighting with someone else for the lone spinner slot. And if I have to be judged purely on my batting skills and batting averages then I think an innings or two alone to drop me out of a particular series, I felt wasn’t quite justified,” he added.