Maheesh Theekshana is a Sri Lankan international cricketer who was born on 1 August 2000 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Theekshana is a right-arm off-break who has represented the senior national team in all formats of the game. Currently, he plays for Jaffna Kings in Lanka Premier League and for the Chennai franchise in the Indian T20 League.
Theekshana grew up in Sedawatta with his grandmother but they were requested to move 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 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.
After having impressed with the ball at the 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, and variations in addition to his Ajantha Mendis alike bowling action. He was omitted from the Sri Lankan U-19 squad for the 2018 Under 19 World Cup on the basis of fitness issues. According to some sources, Theekshana weighed around 117 kilograms during his U19 days. Theekshana made his List A debut for Colts Cricket Club in the 2017-18 Premier Limited Overs Tournament on 14 March 2018. He made his first-class debut for Colts Cricket Club in the 2018-19 Premier League Tournament on 7 December 2018. In October 2020, he was drafted by the Jaffna Kings for the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League.
He joined the Sri Lanka Army in 2020 which 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 leveled 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. 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 the 2020 Lanka Premier League on the back of his impressive performances at the 2020 Army Commander's Cup.
In February 2022, he was bought by the Chennai franchise in the auction for the 2022 Indian T20 League tournament. During the 2022 edition of the Indian T20 League, he broke Rohit Sharma's record to become the youngest-ever bowler to take a four-wicket haul in an Indian T20 League match as he achieved the landmark at the age of 21 days and 255 days against the Bangalore franchise. In July 2022, he was signed by Trinbago Knight Riders for the 2022 Caribbean Premier League. In August 2022, he was picked up by Johannesburg Super Kings for the inaugural edition of South Africa's unnamed CSA T20 League which is set to be held in 2023.
Following Theekshana's strong performances in the SLC Invitational T20 league, he was named in Sri Lanka's ODI and T0I squads for their series against South Africa. He made his ODI debut on 7 September 2021, for Sri Lanka against South Africa. In the match, he took a wicket with his first ball in ODI cricket. He took 4 wickets for 37 runs, helping Sri Lanka win the series 2-1. He became the first Sri Lankan international cricketer to be born in the 21st century. He made his T20I debut on 10 September 2021, also for Sri Lanka against South Africa. Later the same month, Theekshana was named in Sri Lanka's squad for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. He ended the tournament as the second-highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka with eight scalps. In June 2022, he achieved his then-career-best eighth ranking in ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings for bowlers. In July 2022, he was added to Sri Lanka's Test squad for the second match against Australia. He made his Test debut on 8 July 2022, for Sri Lanka against Australia. In August 2022, he was included in Sri Lanka's squad for the 2022 Asia Cup and he also played in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup a couple of months later in Australia.