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World Cup 2023 | R Ashwin's Clone Mahesh Pithiya Declines Australia's Offer To Bowl In Nets 

image-ln78d86sMahesh Pithiya in frame. (X.com) 

Baroda off-spinner Mahesh Pithiya has declined an offer to work with the Australian cricket team, choosing instead to prioritise his focus on the upcoming domestic season. 

With India and Australia scheduled to face off in their first match of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup on October 8 in Chennai, the Australian team management had requested Pithiya's presence before the crucial fixture against the hosts. 

However, after discussing the matter with Baroda's bowling coach, S Aravind, the 21-year-old spinner declined the offer, expressing his desire to concentrate on the domestic season over other commitments.

While acknowledging the excitement of the offer to work with an international team, Pithiya emphasised his commitment to the Baroda setup for the upcoming domestic season, which commences next month.

Pithiya shared his perspective, stating,

"It was certainly an exciting offer, but then, I am also part of the Baroda set-up for the domestic season that begins next month. So, I thought about it, spoke to our coach and informed them that it won’t be possible for me to join the camp this time around."

"As soon as the BCCI announced Ashwin as the replacement for Axar, I got the call. It is always exciting to work with international teams, but my priority is domestic cricket. I have come so far because of playing for Baroda and ahead of a long season, I thought I should focus on my game and not join the Australian team,"  he further explained his decision.

This isn't the first time the Australian team management approached Pithiya to assist in their preparations against spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Earlier this year, when the Australian team toured India for a four-match Test series, Pithiya served as a net bowler for them, replicating Ashwin's bowling action. 

However, despite such preparations, Ashwin emerged as the leading wicket-taker during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, highlighting the challenge Ashwin poses to opposition teams.

Meanwhile, Australia's first warm-up game against the Netherlands was washed out due to rain. Nonetheless, notable performances with the bat by Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc, who bagged a remarkable hat-trick, showcased the team's potential before the weather intervened.