The Border-Gavaskar Trophy contested between India and Australia is set to begin on February 9. The mind games have already begun between the teams, with plenty of words being exchanged between current and former players.
However, one of the most interesting talking points from all these mind games is Australia’s use of an Indian net bowler who bowls like Ravichandran Ashwin. Mahesh Pithiya from Baroda quickly became an internet sensation after it was seen that he can imitate Ashwin’s bowling action perfectly.
Know more about Mahesh Pithiya, who is Australia’s counter to the Ashwin conundrum ahead of the start of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023.
Who is Mahesh Pithiya?
Mahesh Pithiya represents Baroda in India’s domestic circuit. The 21-year-old off-spinner also represented Baroda at the U-19 level and made his First-Class debut for the team during Ranji Trophy 2022-23 against Uttar Pradesh.
Pithiya has picked up eight wickets in FC cricket in four matches. He also made his T20 debut for Baroda against Andhra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
However, the youngster hogged the limelight when Cricket Australia posted a video of him bowling to Australian batters.
Ahead of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023 series opener, he was roped in by the Australians as a net bowler to tackle the threat posed to them by Ravichandran Ashwin, who has picked up 92 wickets against Australia in 19 Tests. This tally includes 21 wickets in four Tests during Australia’s last visit to India in 2017.
Pithiya’s accurate imitation of Ashwin’s bowling action left everybody on social media talking about him. Here’s a video of the right-arm off-spinner bowling to Steve Smith, Alex Carey and Usman Khawaja in the nets at Nagpur.
How are the Aussies preparing for @ashwinravi99 ahead of their upcoming Test series with India? Well, they've only gone and flown in a near carbon copy of the star off-spinner as a net bowler | #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/l9IPv6i43j— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 3, 2023
Mahesh Pithiya also got a chance to interact with his idol Ravichandran Ashwin in Nagpur.
"I had got Smith out at least six times in the nets on the first day and today I got blessings from my idol (Ashwin),” Pithiya told Indian Express.
“I have always wanted to bowl like him. When I met him as he was entering the nets, I touched his feet and sought his blessings. He hugged me and then asked what exactly am I bowling to the Australians. Virat Kohli also smiled at me, gave a thumbs up and wished me luck."
The first Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023 Test between Australia and India at Nagpur is slated to begin from February 9.
Photo Credit: Alamy