New Delhi [India], August 20 (ANI): Maheesh Theekshana is one of Sri Lanka’s main weapons in the world cup. With a good record for the Chennai Super Kings, he is also well-versed in Indian conditions. And given Sri Lanka’s record in ICC tournaments, it is no surprise that Maheesh Theekshana is silently confident about doing well on the big stage.
“We have often wondered why this is the case and maybe it is because these tournaments have a lot at stake and there is always that extra intensity. The platform is bigger and there are a lot many
more people watching. You know the importance of these tournaments and you want to do well. In 2011 we made the final. Now in 2023, we have a good team and a lot of the players
know the Indian conditions really well. If we play to potential, there is no reason why we can’t go all the way,” said Maheesh Theekshana in the world cup series of Backstage With Boria.
Stating that the IPL has helped, he said, “What the IPL does is it gives us first-hand knowledge. We play some of our games in Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Lucknow and a lot of us have played in these grounds during the IPL. Dasun has played for Gujarat in Ahmedabad while Wanindu has played for RCB in Bengaluru. In my case, I have played in Delhi and Lucknow. What this means is we know these grounds, have an idea of the conditions, the boundaries and what all we can expect. It makes a serious difference going into a tournament like the world cup”.
Referring to Sri Lanka’s Asia Cup triumph in 2022, he argued, “During the Asia Cup we knew that we needed to do well for reasons more than sport. People needed something to smile. Something that was a ray of hope. Something that could help them look up and rejoice. The Asia Cup win was one such. When we lost our first game, there was a lot of dejection around. All was doom and gloom. We need to step up. And if you see each of the players, Dilshan, Wanindu, myself, Lahiru Kumara with the ball, Dasun, Pathum, Kusal with the bat, each one of us did well. And when we won the tournament and went back home, it was a sight to behold. There were people everywhere and everyone was happy despite all the suffering. That’s when you realised what this game means to our people back home. It took close to three hours to get out of the airport and go home. We were being celebrated across the country. It will be similar if we are able to do well in the world cup and make our fans happy.”
Calling Wanindu Hasaranga one of the best, he said, “Yes spin bowling is our strength. Wanindu is an excellent bowler and exerts a lot of pressure on the batters. If we are able to bowl well from both ends, there is always a chance of picking wickets. In my case, I just try to keep things simple. Cricket is a simple game, which people overcomplicate at times. It is still about line and length. About bowling the right balls. If I am able to do that, I know I will be
When asked if, with all the technology around, his mystery will certainly get decoded, he shot back. “Let me ask you something for a change. Rashid Khan has been playing for close to a decade now. He plays a lot of franchise tournaments and also for Afghanistan. How many batters have been able to decode his mystery? Why and how is he so successful if he isn’t good enough? There is nothing about mystery or anything. It is about bowling good balls in the right length and with the right line. That’s all that matters. If you are able to do it, wickets will come.”
Commenting on his strategy against batters like Rohit and Virat, he said, “The plan is to give singles if I am bowling to such batters in a T-20 contest. Because in a T-20 game no batter wants to get a single and be away from strike. So my plan always is to give them a single. If you are able to do that you know that a mistake is round the corner. Coming to a 50 over contest, it is a very different plan. You need to pick wickets in the middle overs to be able to put pressure. And now with four fielders out between the 11th and 40th over, you know as a bowler the batter will want to take advantage. That’s when you need to be smart and back your strengths. If you are able to get wickets and push the opposition back, it gives your team a major advantage. Coming to the India game, I have never got Virat out so that’s the one wicket I really want to pick.”
Finally, he credited MS Dhoni for learning to better handle pressure. “MS Dhoni is a fantastic leader and captain. His composure is something each one of us have benefitted from. When you speak to someone like him and see how he handles pressure despite all the hype around, you know how it can or should be done. Not just me, each one of us in the Chennai team have learnt from having him around”, he concluded. (ANI)
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