Matheesha Pathirana, born on December 18, 2002, is a young and promising Sri Lankan cricketer who has already drawn comparisons to the legendary Lasith Malinga due to his unique bowling action and promising talent. His cricketing journey has been nothing short of extraordinary, as he has quickly risen through the ranks, leaving a significant mark on the international and franchise cricket scenes.
Early Beginnings and Malinga’s Influence
Matheesha Pathirana’s journey into cricket started with a unique inspiration – Lasith Malinga. Often referred to as “Baby Malinga,” Pathirana has meticulously modeled his bowling action after the iconic Sri Lankan pacer. This emulation of Malinga’s unorthodox style immediately caught the attention of cricket enthusiasts and experts alike, hinting at the promise that lay ahead.
T20 Debut and Instant Impact
In August 2021, Pathirana’s talent was recognized when he was named in the SLC Greys’ squad for the prestigious 2021 SLC Invitational T20 League. It was here that he made his Twenty20 debut, donning the SLC Greys jersey and showcasing his incredible potential in the shortest format of the game.
Notably, Pathirana’s impact on T20 cricket has been so significant that he is often regarded as one of the greatest IPL bowlers of all time. This reputation speaks volumes about his ability to make a difference on the biggest stages of franchise cricket.
Under-19 World Cup and International Recognition
Before his Twenty20 debut, Matheesha Pathirana had already tasted international exposure. He was a part of Sri Lanka’s squad for the 2020 Under-19 Cricket World Cup, representing his country on the global stage. This experience laid the foundation for his future exploits in international cricket.
In January 2022, Pathirana’s journey took another significant turn when he was named in Sri Lanka’s squad for the 2022 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in the West Indies. This tournament showcased his potential on a global scale, further elevating his status as a promising young talent.
IPL Glory with Chennai Super Kings
One of the most remarkable chapters in Matheesha Pathirana’s career unfolded when he became a key member of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team, which clinched the IPL trophy in 2023. His contributions with the ball were nothing short of exceptional, as he picked up an impressive tally of 19 wickets during the 2023 edition of the IPL.
Pathirana’s remarkable achievement didn’t stop there. He made history by becoming the youngest foreign player to win an IPL trophy, solidifying his status as a rising star in the world of cricket.
Franchise Cricket Success
The IPL success was just the beginning for Pathirana in the world of franchise cricket. In April 2022, he was signed by the Chennai Super Kings, serving as a replacement for Adam Milne for the 2022 Indian Premier League. His debut match against the Gujarat Titans was nothing short of spectacular, as he achieved a remarkable feat by taking a wicket off the very first ball. This made him the first Sri Lankan and the ninth overall player to achieve such a feat in the IPL.
In July 2022, Pathirana’s talent caught the attention of the Kandy Falcons, and he was signed for the third edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL). His inclusion in the league further solidified his reputation as a sought-after bowler in franchise cricket.
International Debut and Growth
Pathirana’s journey into international cricket continued to gain momentum. In May 2022, he was named in Sri Lanka’s Twenty20 International (T20I) squad for their series against Australia. While he didn’t get to play in the series due to an injury, his inclusion in the squad was a testament to his growing stature in Sri Lankan cricket.
August 2022 marked a significant moment in his career as he was named in Sri Lanka’s T20I squad for the 2022 Asia Cup. This was the stage where he finally made his T20I debut on August 27, 2022, against Afghanistan, taking his first steps in representing his nation on the international stage.
In March 2023, his journey continued as he was named in both the One Day International (ODI) and T20I squads for the series against New Zealand. His ODI debut on June 2, 2023, against Afghanistan was marked by the dismissal of Rahmat Shah, claiming his maiden ODI wicket.
A Bright Future Beckons
As of June 2023, Matheesha Pathirana’s star continues to rise, with his inclusion in Sri Lanka’s 15-member squad for the ICC ODI World Cup qualifier. This milestone underscores the trust that the national team has in his abilities and potential contributions.
Matheesha Pathirana’s journey from emulating Lasith Malinga to becoming a key player for the Chennai Super Kings and earning international recognition is a testament to his dedication, talent, and relentless pursuit of excellence. With a bright future ahead, he is poised to be a significant force in Sri Lankan and global cricket for years to come.