Clarke claims Ashes mauling forced new era of Australian cricket
The pain of last winter's Ashes mauling by England is helping to usher in a new era for Australian cricket, according to Test captain Michael Clarke.
The Baggy Green wrapped up a 4-0 series win over India on Saturday, just a year on from their humiliating 3-1 defeat to England on home soil.
A lot of changes have occurred since then, with a new coach, selection team and captain in place, with Clarke replacing Ricky Ponting at the helm.
Award: Michael Clarke was the outstanding player
The statistics from this series would suggest the alterations have been positive too, with Clarke, who scored 626 runs in the series, spearheading a new dawn.
Quick bowlers James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle have formed a fearsome unit – although Pattinson has been injured for some of this series – and David Warner has finally emerged as the dashing opener many expected him to be.
A rejuvenated Ponting has also rediscovered his touch after a barren two years, hitting a century and a double century in his last two Tests.
And Clarke is in no doubt as to what started the upturn in fortunes.
'I think it (the Ashes) has played a part,' Clarke said.
New wave: Peter Siddle (right) has been superb
'It certainly has for me personally. I think individual players who were a part of last summer remember it.
'We said and knew we had to do a lot of work to improve our games, both personally and as a team.
'It's obviously a very special feeling to sit here beating India 4-0, knowing that last summer I couldn't buy a run. It's a great feeling.
'I hate to say it but throughout your career you need to go through the tough times individually and as a team to realise how hard Test cricket is and how special it is when you have days like today and a series like this.'
Other chastening losses have occurred since, such as being railroaded for 47 by South Africa after holding a 188-run lead, and then surrendering to New Zealand having bowled them out for 150.
'The loss in South Africa and the loss against New Zealand is something that every player in that change room has had in the front of their mind,' Clarke added.
'That's probably been a bit of an inspiration to make sure when we feel like things are going well, to keep pushing forward; to make the most of the momentum that we've been able to have.
'Consistency is an area we've had to work on as a team.
Finish: Australian celebrate after Umesh Yadav (right) loses his wicket and India lose the series
'To be able to keep backing up throughout this series and win all four Test matches shows we're improving in that area.'
While Australia are celebrating a return to form, India are left to pick up the pieces of another humiliating whitewash.
Also Beaten 4-0 in England last summer, Duncan Fletcher`s side have fallen some way since they were ranked as the world`s best Test side.
But veteran batsman Virender Sehwag does not feel any of their senior players, such as himself, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, should be thinking about stepping down.
'I don't think there is a need for retirement of any player in this team,' Sehwag said.
'They will take their call when they're needed and when they think their time is up.'
The team's media spokesman also expressed his anger at reports emerging down under that Dravid had already decided to end his career.
Belief: Virender Sehwag (left) believes colleagues like Rahul Dravid (right) should not retire
'The team takes note of the stories in the media suggesting the imminent retirement of a member of the India team,' said GS Walia, reading from a prepared statement.
'We would like to clarify that situation by stating categorically that these are not correct and are baseless.'
Dravid averaged marginally over 24 throughout the tour, but was not alone in struggling to deal with Australia`s new-look attack.
'We have to look at ourselves and what went wrong and then make the calls,' Sehwag added.
'There are experienced players in our team, they are well aware of that and they are working on that, one bad series doesn't make any difference for them.
'They are working hard on their batting skills and they'll find a way.'
Sehwag did not offer a ringing endorsement of former England coach Fletcher, though, for whom this was a second career whitewash in Australia.
When asked what the Zimbabwean had brought to the side, he said: 'It's difficult to tell you. I will not comment on that.'