Ashwin, who had to retire hurt after bowling just 4.4 overs in the opening ODI against South Africa in Kanpur as he strained his side, remained unavailable for the rest of the limited-over series and Harbhajan Singh was called to replace him.

"I'm close to full fitness and I'm confident of bowling well in the Test series," Ashwin said at a promotional event here.

Ashwin, 29, was badly missed in the ODIs as India lost the five-match series 2-3 after suffering a humiliating 214-run defeat in the final match in Mumbai.

The Chennai-born player though defended his team's performance.

"Ours is a relatively inexperienced side. We have just a few players who have played 100-odd games. We need to give some cushion and time to this side. South Africa have players like AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis who are very experienced. We knew it was going to be hard-fought series. Had the last over in Kanpur gone our way, the result could have been different," he opined.

 

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