The 21-year-old Baroda off-spinner Mahesh Pithiya, who has a pretty similar bowling action to the spin-bowling great Ravichandran Ashwin, finally met his ‘idol’ during the teams’ practice session at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur on Tuesday, February 7.
The 21-year-old off-spinner Pithiya, who made his first-class debut for Baroda in December 2022, was flown to Bengaluru for a four-day training camp at the KSCA Ground in Alur after the Australian support staff saw the clips of his bowling on social media.
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Pithiya trained with the Australian team in Bengaluru and the modern-day batting great Steve Smith was highly impressed with the off-spinner.
Speaking to PTI, Mahesh Pithiya revealed that he dismissed Australian Test vice-captain Steve Smith several times in the nets. He further spoke about his meeting with Ashwin, saying that the veteran off-spinner hugged him and asked him what exactly did he bowl in the nets during the training sessions with Australia. The youngster also revealed that the modern-day batting great Virat Kohli gave him a thumbs up and wished him luck.
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“I had got Smith out 5-6 times in the nets on the first day. Today I got blessings from my idol. I have always wanted to bowl like him. When I am 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 and gestured thumbs up and wished me luck,” Mahesh told PTI.
My job is to mainly bowl to Steve Smith at Australia nets – Mahesh Pithiya
Pithiya said that he had a great time training with the Australian team and revealed that his main role was to bowl to Smith.
“I don’t bowl carrom ball or doosra. My stock ball is off break and another ball that I have myself developed is one that has a bit of backspin in it. But I bowl that in white-ball cricket,” he pointed out.
“It has been amazing to work with this Australian side. My job is to mainly bowl to Steve Smith at the Australia nets. He didn’t ask me to bowl anything specific.”
“Lyon first asked me to show my grip and explain what I do while rolling my fingers. He then explained how I can get more revs (rotation) on the ball and also how my front leg (left) should land. He told me to have confidence in my ability. I am there with the team till February 17. It has been a life changer for me,” Mahesh added.
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