Ravichandran Ashwin is undoubtedly India’s best off-spinner in Test cricket at the moment. In fact, going by the numbers, Ashwin is India’s best off-spinner ever. With close to 450 Test wickets to his name, the Tamil Nadu cricketer is an inspiration to many. Mahesh Pithiya of Baroda is one such emerging cricketer who idolizes Ashwin so much so that he even copies his bowling style. Not just the action but the variations too. 

For Pithiya’s ability to produce Ashwin-like deliveries, the touring Australia Test team has hired the Baroda cricketer to assist their batters in preparing for probably the biggest threat. Meanwhile, the young bowler continues to admire Ashwin and dreams of reaching the Indian great’s level. Pithiya also recently met his idol and touched his feet.

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"Today I got blessings from my idol. I have always wanted to bowl like him. When I 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," Pithiya said to PTI. The 21-year-old also proudly revealed that he got a ‘thumbs up’ from Virat Kohli. “Virat Kohli also smiled at me and gesture thumbs up and wished me luck,” said Pithiya. 

Dismissed Steve Smith 5-6 times: Mahesh

The 21-year-old Baroda cricketer then claimed that he dismissed Australia’s star batter Steve Smith five to six times in the nets. “Maine pahle hi din Steve Smith ko 5 se 6 baar out kiya the nets me,” claimed Pithiya. The Baroda cricketer also talked about his experience with the Australian team so far."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." 

Mahesh feels lucky that he is able to interact a lot with Nathan Lyon who has given him some invaluable tips on the art of off-spin. "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."