Sri Lanka coach Naveed on Maheesh Theekshana’s return for Pakistan clash

Maheesh Theekshana
Maheesh Theekshana(Image: Twitter)

The Sri Lanka assistant coach opens on the availability of the spinner Maheesh Theekshana for their second match in the World Cup 2023.

Naveed on Maheesh Theekshana’s return for Pakistan clash

Sri Lanka was defeated in their first match of the World Cup 2023 against South Africa on October 7 at Arun Jaitley Stadium. It was a high-score game where South Africa scored 428 runs in their innings.

Winning the toss, Sri Lanka chose to bowl South Africa was exceptionally impressive in the match as they set up a huge target of 428 against Sri Lanka.

Dasun Shanka-led Sri Lanka fought till the end but lost the match with a 102-run difference. The match was an intense one as both teams scored more than 300 and the aggregate score is the highest score in ODI World Cup.

Despite their defeat against South Africa, Sri Lanka was confident about winning the next match against Pakistan on Tuesday. The assistant coach Naveen Nawaz said that the spinner Maheesh Theeekshana will be available for next match.

“I think he should be available for this game,” said Sri Lanka’s Assistant Coach Naveed Nawaz. “Obviously, we didn’t want to take a risk with him in the first game and didn’t want to go against the advice of the medicals so I’m sure he’ll be available for this one,” he said.

He remembers and recalls the defeat against South Africa which was due to a lack of wicket-taking in the match which led to a high score.

“I think our bowling attack is going to be a little bit stronger as well. So, we’ll have a plan up front to take wickets and that’s the only way I think of containment. If you don’t take wickets, it’s going to be very difficult to contain,” he said.

With taking Pakistan on the next match he said, “I think Pakistan is quite a strong opposition. The only advantage that we have is that we have been playing Pakistan recently in the Asia Cup as well, so both teams know quite well about each team’s strengths, weaknesses, whatever it may be.

“I think it’s going to be a good tussle. The boundaries are slightly longer than in Delhi. I think it will be at least about 65 meters all around the ground. The wickets have been good in Hyderabad. It has produced runs.

There is a bit of bounce and it’s good for batting, I guess. So, I think it’s going to be a good game and two good teams playing each other. It’s a challenge for our boys as well,” he said.

“We’ve got to look at the execution in the game against South Africa and how we could have pulled back probably another 50 – 60 runs and then see what we could have done better which we have already done and then keep the group positive is the most important because it’s a long tournament,” added Nawaz.

“You’re going to be playing, traveling, and doing so many other things for over a month. So, it’s very important to keep everyone positive and you’re learning each game and moving forward. That’s simple as that, I guess.”

“Oh, yes, that has been a worry for all of us that Dasun was not among the runs and he’s had a couple of injury scares as well. As a group, we are very pleased that he’s scored runs and he’s getting better with his tennis elbow as well,” revealed Nawaz.

Sri Lanka will be playing in the eighth World Cup match against Pakistan on October 10, at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.