Kumar Sangakkara: The Pride of the Islanders
The elegant Sri Lanka left hander Kumar Sangakkara is one of the greatest cricketer to play this game. He is one of the few players who can be rightfully proclaimed as a legend without any second thought. Sanga turns 38 today and which is why it is the opportune moment to look back at his amazing career.
Sanga was a complete player and his skillful stroke play was a treat to watch. Be it the pleasing cover drive or a intelligently manipulated clip off his legs towards the on side, Sanga was a man who made people love cricket and batting in particular.
Not everyone was pleased to see him bat as he inflicted a lot of misery on his opponents through his long stay at the wicket in all formats. But having said this, at the end of the day, most of them would appreciate the innings he had played and the delight he brought to the spectators watching.
Sangakkara amassed loads of runs in all formats with an amazing average and a healthy strike rate. He scored 12000 plus runs in tests and 14000 plus runs in ODIs. He led the Sri Lankan side to many famous victories with the bat such as the the 156 against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve where the Lankan side were reeling at 4-81 which eventually led them to victory over the Blackcaps.
Sanga scored 11 double centuries in test matches and was just one short of Bradman’s record of 12 double centuries which is another sparkling example of his brilliant track record.
He helped Sri Lanka reach the 2007 and the 2011 world cup final but unfortunately the dream of winning a world cup could not materialise for Sanga. Although he did mange to end his T20 world cup on a high note as Sri Lanka won the 2014 title after defeating India in the final and with that Sanga retired from T20 internationals.
Kumar Sangakkara had a decorated ODI career and played some brilliant knocks at crucial juncture of various matches. He scored 25 hundreds and 93 fifties in ODIs but a batsman of his caliber would have wanted his conversion rate to be better than what he ended at. Nevertheless his track record is one to be proud of in ODIs. He scored four consecutive hundreds in the 2015 world cup which is a world record and is truly remarkable.
Sanga combined with Mahela to form highest partnership for any wicket when the dup scored 624 runs for the third wicket against South Africa in Colombo. Sanga scored 287 runs during that innings and its safe to say that he and Mahela took the Proteas bowlers to the cleaners on a very flat wicket.
Kumar also kept the wickets for Sri Lanka for a fairly decent amount of time but then he left it, in tests, in order to prolong is career because keeping takes a lot out of you. He manged to grab more than 600 international catches and 100 plus stumpings.
Kumar retired from test matches recently as he played his last test match against India at Colombo in August 2015. He had announced that after playing the world cup of 2015 in Australia he would retire and when South Africa knocked them out in the Quarter Finals, it proved to be Sanga’s last day in colored clothing for the Islanders.
The Lankan stalwart Sangakkara was a player who will be remembered for times to come and his international career has plenty of things for young and rising cricketers to learn and enhance their skills.
In conclusion his worth can be ascertained from the words of current skipper Angelo Mathews who went to great dept in order to convince him to not retire from international cricket
“I’ve gone on my knees and begged him not to retire “