Morawakage Maheesh Theekshana (born 1 August 2000) is a professional cricketer who plays for the Sri Lanka national cricket team in all three formats of the game. He made his international debut for Sri Lanka in September 2021. Regarded as one of the best T20 bowlers in the world, his bowling action resembles that of former Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis, who coincidentally happened to be his mentor with the Sri Lanka Army Sports Club, whom he has represented in the Sri Lankan domestic game.[1]

Maheesh Theekshana
Personal information
Full name
Morawakage Maheesh Theekshana
Born (2000-08-01) 1 August 2000 (age 23)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
BowlingRight-arm off-break
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 161)8 July 2022 v Australia
Last Test16 July 2022 v Pakistan
ODI debut (cap 202)7 September 2021 v South Africa
Last ODI11 February 2024 v Afghanistan
T20I debut (cap 90)10 September 2021 v South Africa
Last T20I19 February 2024 v Afghanistan
Domestic team information
2020 - presentJaffna Kings
2022 - presentChennai Super Kings
2024Sharjah Warriors
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI T20I FC
Matches 2 40 43 3
Runs scored 59 248 36 72
Batting average 19.66 17.71 3.60 14.40
100s/50s 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0
Top score 38 38* 11* 24
Balls bowled 365 1,987 992 414
Wickets 5 55 42 8
Bowling average 37.60 28.01 25.95 29.25
5 wickets in innings 0 0 0 1
10 wickets in match 0 0 0 0
Best bowling 2/28 4/25 3/17 5/76
Catches/stumpings 1/– 7/– 12/0 1/–
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 21 February 2024
Medal record
Representing  Sri Lanka
Men's Cricket
Asia Cup
Winner 2022 UAE
Runner-up 2023 Pakistan and Sri Lanka

He currently plays for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League in club cricket, winning the championship as a key player in 2023.

Early life


Theekshana grew up with his grandmother and hailed from Siddhartha Vidyalaya, Sedawatta. Two of the old boys from St. Benedict's College, Colombo requested the guardian of Theekshana to switch their location to Kotahena in order to make Theekshana play school cricket representing St. Benedict's College. The Cricket Wing of St. Benedict's volunteered to look after his finances in the first two years and later the St. Benedict's College granted him a scholarship offer. He repaid the faith by winning the All Island Best All Rounder Award during his final year at St. Benedict's College.[2]

Military career


Theekshana joined the Sri Lanka Army, following basic training he served as a Private in the Gajaba Regiment and played for the Sri Lanka Army cricket team. Following the Asia Cup Championship in 2022, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.[3]

Domestic and T20 franchise career


After having impressed with the ball at school level, he was called for trials by the National Cricket Academy at R. Premadasa Stadium. He subsequently impressed the spin bowling coaches and director of cricket at National Cricket Academy, Simon Willis with his control, accuracy, bounce, variations in addition to his Ajantha Mendis alike bowling action.[4] However, he was under scrutiny for his body weight as at one stage he weighed at 105 kilograms, 140 skin-folds and he also faced difficulties to pass fitness tests as he took 10.1 minutes to complete the two-kilometre tests and also produced sub par YOYO test conducted by Sri Lanka Cricket.[5] He was also omitted from Sri Lankan U-19 squad for the 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cup on the basis of fitness issues.[6] According to some sources, Theekshana had weighed around 117 kilograms during his U19 days.[7]

Theekshana made his List A debut for Colts Cricket Club in the 2017–18 Premier Limited Overs Tournament on 14 March 2018.[8] He made his first-class debut for Colts Cricket Club in the 2018–19 Premier League Tournament on 7 December 2018.[9] In October 2020, he was drafted by the Jaffna Stallions for the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League.[10] He joined Sri Lanka Army in 2020 and transformed him completely as he began adhering to strict food diets and worked hard on improving his fitness levels. He also subsequently reduced his weight as per the level of expectations levelled on him in order to pursue his cricketing ambitions. By 2020, he had dropped 22 kilograms and halved his skinfold levels. He also improved his two-kilometer run within 10 minutes and improved his YOYO test maximum from 16.1 to 19.2.[4] He trained under Ajantha Mendis who was his first coach with Sri Lanka Army when he joined Army's U-23 side. He was picked in 2020 Lanka Premier League on the back with his impressive performances at 2020 Army Commander's Cup.[11] He initially didn't make the cut for the 2020 Lanka Premier League draft and he was categorized in supplementary category which made him ineligible to play. However, with the recommendation of Thisara Perera he was promoted from supplementary category to emerging category in Jaffna Stallions squad for the 2020 LPL season after the request was accepted by SLC.[12]

In August 2021, Theekshana was named in the SLC Blues team for the 2021 SLC Invitational T20 League tournament.[13] In November 2021, he was selected to play for the Jaffna Kings following the players' draft for the 2021 Lanka Premier League.[14] he ended tournament with highest wicket taker of Lanka Premier League 2021.

In February 2022, he was bought by the Chennai Super Kings in the auction for the 2022 Indian Premier League tournament.[15] During the 2022 edition of the Tata IPL, he broke Rohit Sharma's record to become the youngest ever bowler to take a four-wicket haul in an IPL match as he achieved the landmark at the age of 21 years and 255 days against Royal Challengers Bangalore.[16][17] In July 2022, he was signed by the Jaffna Kings for the third edition of the Lanka Premier League.[18] In July 2022, he was signed by Trinbago Knight Riders for the 2022 Caribbean Premier League.[19]

In August 2022, he was picked up by Johannesburg Super Kings for the inaugural edition of the South Africa's CSA T20 League which was held in 2023.[20][21]

International career


Following Theekshana's strong performances in the SLC Invitational T20 league, he was named in Sri Lanka's One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) squads for their series against South Africa.[22][23] He made his ODI debut on 7 September 2021, for Sri Lanka against South Africa.[24] In the match, he took a wicket with his first ball in ODI cricket.[25] He took 4 wickets for 37 runs,[26] helping Sri Lanka win the series 2–1.[27] He became the first Sri Lankan international cricketer to be born in the 21st century.[28] He made his T20I debut on 10 September 2021, also for Sri Lanka against South Africa.[29] Later the same month, Theekshana was named in Sri Lanka's squad for the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup.[30][31] He ended the tournament as second highest wicket taker for Sri Lanka with eight scalps.[32]

In June 2022, he achieved his career best eighth ranking in ICC Men's T20I Player Rankings for bowlers.[33]

In July 2022, he was added to Sri Lanka's Test squad for the second match against Australia.[34] He made his Test debut on 8 July 2022, for Sri Lanka against Australia.[35] In August 2022, he was included in Sri Lanka's squad for the 2022 Asia Cup.[36] Along with Wanindu Hasaranga, Theekshana made the spin bowling department, where Sri Lanka eventually won the tournament for the sixth time.[37] Theekshana made consistent wicket taking option for skipper Dasun Shanaka, where he ended the tournament with 6 wickets for 162 runs with an economy of 6.75.[38]

In May 2024, he was named in Sri Lanka’s squad for the 2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup tournament.[39]



The fans of Chennai Super Kings expressed their grief and vent their frustrations in disbelief by trending hashtags #Boycott_ChennaiSuperKings and #DontNormalizeTamilGenocide in various social media platforms soon after Chennai Super Kings bought Theekshana during the 2022 IPL auction since he had served in the Sri Lankan army.[40]


  1. ^ "Dasun Shanaka: Maheesh Theekshana won't be easy to read for any team". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Theekshana spins St. Benedict's to victory". The Sunday Times Sri Lanka. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  3. ^ "Promotions & Cash Incentives Awarded to Army Achievers in International Sports". Sri Lanka Army. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  4. ^ a b "New Lankan mystery: Maheesh Theekshana all set to carry Mendis' legacy of unconventional spin forward". The Indian Express. 20 October 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  5. ^ "IPL 2022: 'Used to weigh 107 kgs', CSK spinner Maheesh Theekshana opens up on his U-19 fitness struggles". Firstpost. 11 May 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  6. ^ Sridheran, Sharmeegan (10 September 2021). "The survival of the Mysterious Maheesh". Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  7. ^ "'I was 117 kg,' CSK spinner Maheesh Theekshana shares his fitness struggle - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  8. ^ "Group B, Premier Limited Over Tournament at Colombo, Mar 14 2018". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Group B, Premier League Tournament Tier A at Colombo, Dec 7-9 2018". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Shahid Afridi among big names taken at LPL draft". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  11. ^ Weerasinghe, Damith (22 October 2021). "Theekshana grateful for Army's contribution towards cricket". Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  12. ^ Nadeera, Dilshan. "Maheesh Theekshana: from rags to riches". Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Sri Lanka Cricket announce Invitational T20 squads and schedule". The Papare. 4 August 2021. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  14. ^ "Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews miss out on LPL drafts". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  15. ^ "IPL 2022 auction: The list of sold and unsold players". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  16. ^ Ratnaweera, Dhammika. "Maheesh Theekshana youngest bowler to take a four wicket haul in IPL". Daily News. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  17. ^ "Canny Theekshana brings bowling respite for CSK". Cricbuzz. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  18. ^ "LPL 2022 draft: Kandy Falcons sign Hasaranga; Rajapaksa to turn out for Dambulla Giants". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
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  20. ^ "CSK old boys du Plessis and Fleming to be Jo'burg Super Kings' captain and coach". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  21. ^ "CSK-owned Johannesburg signs Maheesh Theekshana for South Africa T20 League". Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Kusal Perera back in limited-overs squads after recovering from Covid-19". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
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  29. ^ "1st T20I (N), Colombo (RPS), Sep 10 2021, South Africa tour of Sri Lanka". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  30. ^ "Theekshana and Rajapaksa surprise picks in Sri Lanka's T20 World Cup squad". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  31. ^ AFP. "T20 World Cup: Sri Lanka pick Maheesh Theekshana in 15-member squad, Dasun Shanaka named captain". Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  32. ^ "Australia on alert for new Sri Lankan mystery spinner". Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  33. ^ ICC (15 June 2022). "Maheesh Theekshana attains career-best eighth place in ICC Men's T20I Player Ranking". Retrieved 27 August 2022.
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  39. ^ "Sri Lanka's Squad for ICC Men's T20I World Cup 2024". ScoreWaves. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  40. ^ "CHENNAI FANS OUTRAGED!". The Morning - Sri Lanka News. 17 February 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022.