I used to weigh 117 kgs. Spoke to MS Dhoni…’: CSK bowler says he never thought Chennai Super Kings will bid for him

IPL 2022: CSK’s 21-year-old bowler recalled his struggle with fitness issues and how he put his career back on track with hard work and dedication.

The IPL 2022 hasn’t exactly been a season to remember for Chennai Super Kings, but despite their disappointing outing this year, CSK have managed to produce players that have made an impact. Devon Conway has sizzled with three half-centuries, while Shivam Dube has proven that he has all the potentials to become one of the cleanest strikers of the ball. Despite an injury to Deepak Chahar, which ruled him out of IPL 2022, CSK’s bowling has been shepherded well by Simarjeet Singh, Mukesh Choudhary and N Jagadeesan, all three of whom have responded well.

Among these guys, a youngster that has made heads turn is Maheesh Theekshana of Sri Lanka. The mystery spinner has picked up 12 wickets from eight matches, including a best of 4/33 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Picked for ₹70 lakh during the IPL 2022 auction, Theekshana has proven to be a solid buy for CSK. But the road to representing CSK was not easy. The 21-year-old bowler narrated how he overcame fitness issues to make a name for himself and fulfil his cricketing dream.

“I was 117 kg at that time (U-19 days), so I had to work harder to get my weight and skin folds down in the yo-yo test. In 2020, I got everything down and brought my fitness to the (required) level. I started to do more hard work on my body,” Theekshana said, a video of which was uploaded on CSK’s Twitter. “In 2020, I had a chat with Ajantha Mendis, and in 2022, I spoke to MS Dhoni. I was with CSK last year as a net bowler. Never thought they would bid for me or pick me this year.

“In 2017-18, I was in the U-19 squad, but I did not get a chance to play because I failed fitness tests a few times. In 2019, I had to be a water boy for 10 games in three-day matches. So I knew that if I failed, I would have to carry the water bottles again. But I kept believing in myself and had that never-say-die attitude. That’s why I am here in 2022.”

Theekshana began his IPL career playing under Ravindra Jadeja but soon MS Dhoni became his captain. Having spent time with the India legend, Theekshana says ‘Dhoni can do anything’ and is keen to learn from the master mind for as long as he is around.

“Actually, I liked CSK because I like MS Dhoni very much. It’s actually unbelievable, yesterday I played table tennis with him. It’s more like a goal to play with him and to play under him now. He has a lot of skills, be it cricket, football, or table tennis. I think he can do anything. It is a dream come true to play here,” the spinner said.

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