PAK vs SL: Maheesh Theekshana Set To Play Against Pakistan, Says Sri Lanka Assistant Coach

Updated - 09 Oct 2023, 07:08 PM

Maheesh Theekshana, Sri Lanka
Maheesh Theekshana (Credits: Twitter)

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Sri Lanka have received a huge boost ahead of their crucial game against Pakistan in the ongoing 2023 ODI World Cup. Their star spinner Maheesh Theekshana is set to make his much-awaited return to action during the game.

The spinner has not played a competitive game since suffering a hamstring injury during the Super 4 clash against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 last month. He had to miss the final as well as Sri Lanka’s World Cup opener against South Africa last week. And Maheesh Theekshana is now all set to bolster Sri Lanka’s bowling attack, according to their assistant coach Naveed Nawaz.

“He’s fit and should play tomorrow,” Nawaz said on the eve of the match. “Didn’t want to risk him in the first game against medical advice but he should be ready here.”

With Maheesh Theekshana warming the bench, Sri Lanka’s attack endured a tough day at the office against South Africa. The Proteas smashed the Islanders for 428 runs, the highest total in the ODI World Cup history. As many as three South Africa batsmen – Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, and Aiden Markram hit centuries.

Sri Lanka went on to lose the game by 102 runs. They did well to score 326 runs and would be taking confidence from their batting performance for the upcoming contest against Pakistan at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

Nawaz defends Wellalage:

With Wanindu Hasaranga not a part of the squad due to injury and Maheesh Theekshana on the bench, the responsibility of leading Sri Lanka’s spin attack was on young and inexperienced spinner Dunith Wellalage. The left-arm spinner had picked up a five-wicket haul against India in the Asia Cup last month but had a tough outing against South Africa.

In 10 overs, he conceded 81 runs and could not pick up any wicket on a tough pitch where bowlers got very little assistance. Nawaz, however, has defended the young spinner, saying:

“Dunith has had to face a lot of responsibility, where he’s been pushed up as the main bowler in the last couple of games. I think he reacted exceptionally well. He has done well in the Asia Cup. Even on a batting-friendly track in Delhi, he bowled reasonably well. This is a game of learning; he’s moving forward, and we are happy with that.”

Unlike Sri Lanka, Pakistan started their campaign with an 81-run win over the Netherlands. The Men in Green will be looking to extend their winning start.

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ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 ICC ODI World Cup 2023 ICC World Cup 2023 Maheesh Theekshana Sri Lanka national cricket team