Australia is gearing up for its first ICC World Cup 2023 match against India on October 8. In preparation for the tournament, the Australian team has sought the help of Baroda off-spinner Mahesh Pithiya. He has a striking resemblance in the bowling action of the legendary Indian spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin.
During the last edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Pithiya worked closely with the Australian team. They aim to learn techniques to counter Ashwin. However, despite their efforts, Australia fell short in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, where Ashwin emerged as the leading wicket-taker.
The Australian team management approached Pithiya to rejoin the squad before their crucial match against the hosts, India, on October 8. However, the 21-year-old spinner, after consulting with Baroda’s bowling coach who S Aravind, declined the offer. Pithiya expressed his commitment to focus on the domestic season rather than taking up additional commitments with the national team.
“It is undoubtedly an interesting offer, but I am also a part of the Baroda team for the domestic season. It starts next month. So I gave it some thought. I spoke to our coach, and I told them that I will not be able to attend the camp this time,” Pithiya told Sportstar.
Pithiya added that he got the call to join the squad on October 4 in Chennai when the BCCI announced that Ashwin would replace Axar Patel.
“I got the call when the BCCI declared Ashwin as Axar’s replacement. Although working with foreign teams is always interesting, domestic cricket is my main priority. I have improved a lot since I played for Baroda, so I decided to concentrate on improving my skills rather than joining the Australian squad before the long season,” Pithiya concluded.
Australia’s first warm-up game against the Netherlands was canceled due to rain. Despite the interference of the weather, Steve Smith and Cameron Green put in good performances with the bat. Mitchell Starc scored an incredible hat-trick before rain stopped play.