File image of R Ashwin© AFP
Arguably the biggest Test rivalry in the world at the moment, India and Australia are set to square off in a 4-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy starting February 09. Having turned down the plan to play a few practice games in the sub-continent, Australia are preparing for the Test assignment in a unique manner. To counter the Ravichandran Ashwin threat in the Test series, Australian batters have reportedly been practicing against the off-spinner’s “duplicate” Maheesh Pithiya, flying him to Bengaluru by the touring team as a net bowler.
As per a report in cricket.com.au, Maheesh Pithiya has an uncanny resemblance to Ashwin. Australia’s support staff was reportedly sent a footage of Pithiya’s bowling via social media. The uncanny similarities between him and Ashwin prompted the touring side to fly the youngster to Bangalore for a four-day training camp at the KSCA Ground in nearby Alur.
Meet Maheesh Pithiya, the net bowler with an uncannily similar action to @ashwinravi99. He’s been flown in to Bangalore to help the Aussies prepare one of India’s biggest spin threats #INDvAUS https://t.co/R782uEfYs9 pic.twitter.com/PoefXiFHvm
— Louis Cameron (@LouisDBCameron) February 3, 2023
Australia, who identify Ashwin as one of the biggest hurdles in their hopes of winning the Border-Gavaskar Test series in India, are making use of Pithiya in order to prepare for the threat that the India international possesses.
Having already prepared some pitches that resemble the kind of wickets that would be prepared in the actual Test series, Australia are practicing playing Pithiya, hoping to get used to the sort of impact Ashwin could create on such pitches.
The 21-year-old made his first-class debut for Broda in December last year. While the young spinner’s phone is filled with pictures of Ashwin at the moment, he aspires to meet his idol one day. Pithiya would certainly have the ambition of representing his country, like his idol Ashwin, one day. But, for now, he has been identified as an important part of the preparatory plan that Australia has created to defeat the Indian team.
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