I hope to do my best for the country – cricketer Maheesh Theekshana | Sunday Observer

I hope to do my best for the country – cricketer Maheesh Theekshana

10 October, 2021

Young national cricketers are shining these days on the cricket field. Among them Maheesh Theekshana is a prominent name. He is a product of St. Benedict’s College, Colombo. The Youth Observer thought of writing about him after he was named as a member of the Sri Lanka national cricket team.

Maheesh Theekshana is a 21-year-old talented cricketer who was polished by the Sri Lanka Army. He became the talk of the town after his debut game against South Africa recently.

The Youth Observer caught up with him to discuss his success in cricket.

“I was born on August 1, 2000,” he said. He is the first player born in the new millennium to enter the Sri Lanka national cricket team.

“I am proud of it. My debut in cricket was also a memorable moment in my cricket life,” Theekshana said.

Three schools

He had studied at several schools in Colombo - Samayawardhana MV, Sri Siddhartha MMV, Sedawatta and St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena.

“I live in Sedawatta. In 2006, I entered Grade 1 at Samayawardhana MV, Colombo 8. The following year, I joined Sri Siddhartha MMV, Sedawatta. There I studied up to Grade 10,” said Theekshana.

Q: When did you start playing cricket?

A: I learnt to play cricket at the Asoka de Silva School of Cricket. I joined it in 2010. My head coaches were Thilak de Silva and W.A.D.S. Ramyajith. I learned cricket under their guidance.

He toured Malaysia representing his cricket academy the same year. The following year, Sri Siddhartha Madya Maha Vidayalaya started cricket practises.

“Then I too attended my school cricket practises,” he said.

Theekshana started his school cricket career under coach Rukshan Foux. He represented the school under-13 team from 2011 to 2013. He claimed over 20 wickets with two hat-tricks in one season. He also scored over 150 runs with two half centuries in the under-13 tournaments.

“At that time I got the chance to join the Colombo North under-13 team,” he said.

He represented the Sri Siddhartha MMV under-15 team in 2014 . “I scored more than 250 runs including three half centuries and claimed 24 wickets in the under-15 Division III tournament in 2014,” Theekshana said.

In 2015, he joined St. Benedict’s College to further his cricket career.

“That was a good decision that I took. St. Benedict’s has plenty of facilities for cricket. It helped me to polish my talent as well,” he said. He scored over 600 runs with a century and four fifties as an opener in the under-15 Division One tournament in 2015 conducted by the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association.

He scored a century against Maris Stella College at Negombo. He also represented the Colombo North under-15 team and the Western Province North under-15 team in the Prima Champions Trophy inter-district and inter-provincial tournaments conducted by Sri Lanka Cricket.

Most Valuable Player

“I was judged the Most Valuable Player in the tournament. It was an admirable moment in my school cricket life.” He scored 169 runs with two fifties in three matches and claimed seven wickets. His best bowling performance was 4 for 30 runs against North Western Province.

He represented the St. Benedict’s under-19 team as a fresher playing four matches in 2015/16. Theekshana scored 120 runs and claimed 17 wickets in the under-17 tournaments in 2016. He scored 730 runs with a century and five half centuries in the 2016/17 season.

“I made a century against Thurstan College Colombo that season and claimed 53 wickets with four, five-wicket hauls. In 2017, when I was 17, I was fortunate to represent the Colts CC in the Premier League under-23 tournament. In that tournament I bagged 19 wickets in three matches.”

He scored 270 runs with three fifties and bagged 22 wickets in the under-17 tournament in 2017. Theekshana also scored over 650 runs with two centuries and three fifties. He claimed 74 wickets with six, five-wicket hauls. He scored centuries against Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda and Zahira College, Colombo.

“I was selected as the “Best all-rounder in Division One”, he said. Theekshana represented the Western Province North team in the under-19 inter provincial tournament conducted by Sri Lanka Cricket in 2017.

Under-19 squad

“I was among the 25 members selected for the Sri Lanka Under-19 squad,” he said.

Theekshana scored over 500 runs with four, half centuries. He also scored a century against Nalanda College, Colombo in a limited-over match. Later Theekshana claimed 94 wickets with nine, five-wicket hauls and a 10-wicket haul. That was a marvelous performance as a bowler.

“Representing the Western Province team which emerged champions in the under-23 tournament in 2017, was a milestone in my cricket career,” he said.

He represented Colts CC in the Premier League limited overs and T20 inter club tournaments in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Theekshana’s best bowling performance in the Premier T20 was 5 for 34 runs against SSC. Then he represented Sri Lanka Cricket Board President’s XI against Ireland ‘A’ in 2019.

“After leaving school I joined the Gajaba Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army in August last year,” said Theekshana.

He represented Jaffna Stallions in the LPL tournament. He played only one match, against Colombo Kings. Matheesha’s bowling performance was 0/10 in three overs (strike rate - 5.67).

“I had a chance to represent the Northern Warriors team in the fourth edition of the Abu Dhabi T10 last February at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. That was a big achievement in my cricketing life,” he said.

He displayed good bowling performances in the above series.

All-rounder Maheesh is a member of Army SC cricket team. He showed good bowling performances at the Premier League level. He is right-hand batsman and right-arm off-break bowler. He likes to bowl Ajantha Mendis’ magic carrom ball. He played only one match in the LPL series for Jaffna Stallions.

Only four wickets

He represented the SLC Blues team at the SLC Invitational T20 league tournament held recently. However, Theekshana bagged only four wickets in four matches.

“I got a chance to play against South Africa recently. I performed well. It was like a miracle. I set up a record in Sri Lanka cricket history. It was an admirable moment and I was very happy about it. Now I plan to give my full strength to my team and country. That is my only dream today,” Theekshana said.

He thanked several people for his success in cricket including Ven. Neeralgama Buddhawansha Thera and R.P. Piyarathne former Principals of Sri Siddhartha MMV, Bro. Janaka Fonseka and Bro. Henry Dissanayake, former principals of St. Benedict’s College, Bro. Dilshan Vimukthi and Bro. Praveen Vaz , PoGs of St. Benedict’s, Manjula Perera, Darshana Dedigama and master-in- charge Vivian Savarimuththupulle, first coach Thilak de Silva, W.A.D.S. Ramyajith, Rukshan Foux, Amila Rukshantha, Namal Senevirathne, Shashika Madhuranga, Sanjaya Dissanayake, Keerthi Gunarathne and Amal Fernando, coaches of both schools, teachers of both schools, students, team mates, their parents of both schools, Rohitha Perera and Niroshan Bandarathilake provincial cricket coaches, Chaminda Thotagamuwage, P. Milton, Lucky Rogers, Tharaka Gunarathne and Mahesh Weerasinghe district coaches in the Colombo North Zone, his father, mother, two sisters, grandparents and relations.

He also thanked Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva, Chairman, Army Sports Committee, Maj. Gen. Priyantha Perera, Chairman of Army Cricket Committee, Maj. Gen. Sanjaya Wanasinghe, Vice Chairman, Army Cricket Committee, Maj. Gen. Shiran Abeysekara, former Chairman Army Sports Committee, Maj. Gen. Jagath Gunawardena, former Chairman, Army Cricket Committee, Maj. Gen. Ruwan Wanigasooriya, Army SC cricketers Thisara Perera and Dinesh Chandimal, Muthumudali Pushpakumara, Indika De Seram (Colts CC), Thilina Kandambi and Sachith Pathirana (Jaffna Stallions), Rumesh Rathnayake (SLC Blues), Saman Jayanatha and Ajantha Mendis coaches of Army CC, Kingsman Cricket Foundation, Manager Amila Kalugalage.

The Youth Observer wishes him success in his cricket career.