Mahesh Pithiya, a 21-year-old spinner who has an eerie resemblance to Ashwin Ravichandran’s bowling action, has been brought in by Australia to practise on spin-friendly surfaces ahead of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Test series against India.

The visitors haven’t won a Test series in India since 2004 and Ashwin has been one of their nemesis in recent series’s. After choosing not to play a tour game, citing ‘irrelevant pitches’ that do not really give them the exposure to tackle spin, the visitors chose to practice on custom-made spin-friendly pitches in Sydney and also in India.

Pithiya, who made his first-class debut for Baroda in December, was called in for the four-day training camp at the KSCA Ground in Alur. Australia took Pithiya’s help to become familiar with Ashwin’s motion because they anticipate spin to play a significant part in the four-match Test series.

According to Cricbuzz, Pithiya, who was born and raised in Junagadh, Saurashtra, relocated to Baroda exclusively for the purpose of developing his cricketing abilities. And since his early days, he has often been referred to as Ashwin.

He stated in the report, “I was rarely called by my original name. It was always Ashwin.”

The report points out that interestingly, Pithiya and his idol are dissimilar to each other physically. He is somewhat shorter than Ashwin and has a slender frame. He does, however, have a very similar load-up, delivery stride, and release that includes that distinctive wrist position.

The 18-member Pat Cummins-led squad will spend a week in Bengaluru before the first Test begins in Nagpur on February 9.