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IND vs AUS 2022-23: 'Touched Ashwin's feet and sought his blessings' - Australia's net bowler Mahesh Pithiya

IND vs AUS 2022-23: Mahesh Pithiya has been Australia's net bowler ahead of the four Tests for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Meanwhile, the Ravichandran Ashwin impersonator met him, touched his feet and sought his blessings.

IND vs AUS, Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23: Touched Ravichandran Ashwin feet and sought his blessings - Australia net bowler Mahesh Pithiya-ayh
First Published Feb 7, 2023, 6:26 PM IST

Off-spinner Mahesh Pithiya does not mind the attention he is receiving now, and his calm and unpretentious company is undoubtedly charming. He could efficiently be missed among the plethora of net bowlers, sweating it out at any visiting side's nets before the uncanny likeness with veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's motion jaw-drops you. He has just four First-Class (FC) fixtures to his name, but the Australian side has made him a wandering net bowler, and he is bubbling up every bit of engagement he is having.

"Maine pahle din hi Steve Smith ko paanch se che baar out kiya thaa nets mein [I had got Smith out at least six times in the nets on the first day]," a smiling Mahesh signified to PTI as he stood in a corner, watching his idol Ashwin go about his job at the nets. Talk about Ashwin, and the 21-year-old began glaring. Mahesh has rendered curiosity among the Indian players as well.


"Today, I got blessings from my idol. I have always wanted to bowl like him [Ashwin]. I touched his feet and sought his blessings when I met him as he entered the nets. He hugged me and then asked what exactly am I bowling to the Australians. Virat Kohli also smiled at me and gestured thumbs up and wished me luck," Mahesh said with dignity.

Mahesh has just triggered his journey in senior cricket for Baroda, which is his focus now. "I have started my journey in Ranji Trophy and want to focus on my red ball game. I want to cement my place on the Baroda side. I am not thinking about IPL [Indian Premier League] now," said Mahesh, who was working in a tea stall a few years ago.

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So, what exactly does he bowl? Does he have a carrom ball or a slider like Ashwin? "No, I don't bowl carrom ball or doosra. My stock ball is off-break, and another ball I have developed has a bit of backspin. But, I bowl that in white-ball cricket," said Mahesh, who lives with his parents, elder brother and sister-in-law.

Bowling to Smith and Marnus Labuschagne has been a life-changing venture for him. "It has been amazing to work with this Australian side. My job is mainly to bowl to Steve Smith at the Australia nets. He didn't ask me to bowl anything specific," he stated. Mahesh feels lucky to interact with veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who has given him some priceless tips on the art of off-spin.

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"Lyon first asked me to show my grip and explain what I do while rolling my fingers. He then explained how I could get more revs [rotation] on the ball and how my front leg [left] should land. He told me to have confidence in my ability," he recalled. The Aussie side will utilise Mahesh's courtesies until the second Test in Delhi initiates. "I am there with the team till February 17. It has been a life-changer for me," concluded the young lad.

(With inputs from PTI)

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