Adelaide, Jan 27: Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin says the Indian cricket team is "disappointed" but not "embarrassed" with their disastrous showing in Australia even as they head towards a second successive series whitewash on foreign shores.
"Embarrassment is not the right word. It would be nice if you could rephrase it. Nobody has fooled or cheated anyone. We are extremely disappointed and that probably is the word I can use," said Ashwin after India ended the fourth day of the final Test in Adelaide at 166 for six here today.
"It's only a sport. At the end of the day, we have competed hard, it's not that we have chucked it away. Yes we come down short on occasions but there were moments which we could have seized and it would have looked different.
"We have not seized initiative and there hasn't been enough in the back to do it," he added.
So poor was India's batting that towards the close Australia had nine fielders posted close to the bat with off-spinner Nathan Lyon operating.
"We can put up a challenge to a spinner even if nine fielders are around. When things are going right you could do anything and pull the rabbit out of the hat. Yes, we have succumbed as a whole and we don't have an answer to that. Probably some other time, we could have replied to that."
Ashwin was also unmindful of the backlash the team could face from fans back home.
"We never have had that at back of our minds. If you are going to think what's going to happen, it doesn't work like that in life. We just tried our best and it hasn't gone our way."
Despite their dominance in the present series, Ashwin isn't prepared to call Australia the world's best yet.
"We have seen in the last one year, teams are increasingly getting stronger at home. Under sweltering heat and lack of bounce, we might fancy ourselves. A team has to do really well and perform all over the place."
India's batting has come in for severe criticism for its performance but Ashwin laid the blame on the whole team rather than just the batsmen.
"It's a team game and should be thought as such. If we have failed, we have failed as a unit. If batsmen haven't got runs, they haven't given enough time for bowlers to recover. If the bowlers haven't done well, they haven't given enough for batsmen in the dressing room. We failed as a unit."
Many experts believed that with the batters failing constantly, India should have reshuffled the batting order.
"I really don't belong to top seven. I was always at number eight so my duty was always to keep one end and post some score on the board for the bowlers to really work in case there was a trouble or slump.
"This wicket looked flat and we thought we would bat really well here. I feel awkward to give excuses. At the end of the day, things didn't go our well... if we had runs on the board, things could have looked a little different. But you can't rewrite the script, can you?"
Ashwin, who took two for 72 in Australia's second innings, felt he had bowled well in the series.
"There have been phases when I've bowled well. I wouldn't say I didn't have much luck, but we always stumped upon a roadblock. When we got the three wickets, and didn't get the fourth quickly enough to attack as a whole and gone into a break and not seize the initiative.
"With due credit, just a couple of players have used their feet very well. In Australian conditions with kookaburra ball, even if you deceive them in the flight, they go through with shots.
"This is the learning I've taken from the series. I would work on when guys are stepping out to me. At the end of the day, as a bunch of youngsters who are there in the squad, we would try to take as much learning from the series as possible and walk with our heads held high and try and use it somewhere else."
The young off-spinner hoped things would be different in the one-day internationals which follow the Test series.
"Everything is going to be fresh. Even the colour of the ball is changed. Hopefully, we could change our luck as well.
"We really need to forget and get on with it. People coming with fresh energy would really help. Even when we lost in England, with dew and rain, we were not bad. If we get on top here, we should never let the opposition get back."
Ashwin has often faced media on this tour while seniors have avoided facing the heat. But the youngster was also prepared to play this new role.
"If that's what is required of me (to attend press conferences), if this is also a role I have to play as a cricketer, I definitely have to play it. If it is for the team anybody can take, I am ready to take it."