Although Sri Lanka has made it to the finals of the Asia Cup 2023, there is troubling news for the team. Their primary leg-spinner, Maheesh Theekshana, sustained a hamstring injury to his right leg during a fielding incident in the match against Pakistan.
Theekshana had to leave the field in the 39th over due to significant discomfort while bowling. Theekshana had performed admirably against Pakistan, conceding just 42 runs in 9 overs with an economy rate of 4.67. In the first five overs, he gave away a mere 14 runs. However, in the last four overs, he struggled due to the pain from his injury.
A hamstring injury is a strain or tear in the tendons or large muscles at the back of the thigh. These injuries are classified into three grades: grade 1, which is a mild muscle pull; grade 2, a partial muscle tear; and grade 3, a complete muscle tear.
Recovery from a hamstring injury typically takes at least 2 weeks. However, Sri Lanka is also required to submit the list of available players for the World Cup by September 28, 2023.
Hours after Theekshana was forced to leave the field, the Sri Lankan Cricket Board used X (formerly Twitter) to announce that Theekshana had indeed suffered a right hamstring injury and would undergo a scan.
🚨 Maheesh Theekshana has strained his right hamstring.— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) September 14, 2023
The player will undergo a scan tomorrow to fully assess his condition.
Theekshana sustained the injury while he was fielding during the ongoing game between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.#AsiaCup2023 #SLvPAK pic.twitter.com/6RTSRxhKNQ
Theekshana, who made his debut for Sri Lanka last year, emerged as the team's leading wicket-taker in 2023. The off-spinner has taken 31 wickets in 15 matches with an impressive average of 17.61.
His injury is particularly worrisome as the team is already grappling with a shortage of quality players like Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga.
Theekshana was the go-to man for skipper Dasun Shanaka in white-ball cricket, especially when the team needed a breakthrough. The spinner has secured eight wickets in five matches during the Asia Cup, although he was relatively expensive in two of those matches.
Nonetheless, alongside Wanindu Hasaranga, Theekshana played a pivotal role for the team. In their absence, Sri Lanka may face dire consequences in the Asia Cup final.
Even more concerning is Theekshana's availability before the ODI World Cup, which commences next month.
With the World Cup and the Asia Cup final against India on the horizon, Theekshana's injury is a significant setback for the Sri Lankan team.