India and Australia are all set to square off against each other in a four-match Test series as a part of the Border Gavaskar Trophy. The first Test is slated to be played in Nagpur from February 9. Both India and Australia are preparing hard for the series considering its importance for the World Test Championship Final. While India have set up a preparatory camp in Nagpur, Australia have their camp setup near Bangalore.
The Kangaroos are doing everything at their disposal to prepare for the spin challenge India might throw at them. The biggest threat for Australia is R Ashwin who is the second-leading wicket-taker in Tests for India. The Indian off-spinner has 448 wickets in 166 innings of 88 Tests. Against Australia, Ashwin has managed 89 wickets in 34 innings of 18 Tests.
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The Aussies are also well-aware of Ashwin’s capabilities and hence they have hired Mahesh Pithiya, an uncapped Indian who resembles the same bowling action as Ashwin. As videos of Australian batters practising against Pithiya started doing the rounds on the internet, Wasim Jaffer took a dig at the team. “First Test is five days away and @ashwinravi99 is already inside Aus head 😅 #INDvAUS #BorderGavaskarTrophy,” tweeted Jaffer.
Meanwhile, former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh pointed out that the Australians are preparing for the pitches that will be prepared during the series and not for a particular bowler. “This the main thing they have in their head,” wrote Singh while sharing an image of the Nagpur pitch.
This tweet from Singh was perceived as an insult to Ashwin by the fans. They started slamming the former Indian cricketer for not being respectful to the off-spinner’s achievements. “Jalbhajan, cry more. Ashwin is 100 times better than you,” commented one user on Harbhajan’s post.
Notably, Harbhajan Singh has taken 417 wickets in 103 Tests for India.