Cricketer of the Week (December 29, 2014 - January 4, 2015): Kumar Sangakkara
Sri Lankan batting mainstay Kumar Sangakkara had a wonderful time with the bat in 2014, especially in the longer format of the game, amassing 1438 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 71.90. He scored 4 centuries in the year that included a career-best 319 against Bangladesh in Chittagong. He amassed 521 runs in 3 Tests in 2013 and scored a hundred in each of the three Tests.
He also fulfilled his dream of scoring at hundred at the Mecca of Cricket, Lord’s in 2014 when he hit 147 in the first innings against England that included 16 fours. Following that tour, the 37-year-old scored yet another double hundred against Pakistan at home.
His form in limited-overs cricket was also equally good. Sangakkara scored 1256 runs in 28 ODIs with four centuries and was part of the Sri Lankan team that won the Asia Cup in March and also won the ODI series against England in June.
He also scored a crucial half-century in the final of the World T20 to help Sri Lanka hep register a famous win over India in Dhaka.
Carrying on form from 2014
Sangakkara, it seems has carried from where he had left off in 2014, scoring an excellent double hundred in his first Test of 2015 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The southpaw scored a brilliant 203 off 356 balls to help his side take a lead of 135 runs in the first innings vs New Zealand. The knock contained 18 fours, many of which were his trademark cover drives and it also had three sixes.
Like many other instances in the past, his knock proved to be the backbone that helped the Lankans reach a total in excess of 350. He shared key partnerships with Dinesh Chandimal and Rangana Herath along the way and ensured that his side got a sizeable lead in the first innings. It took a stunning catch from Trent Boult to end Sangakkara’s vigil at the crease and he was the 9th wicket to fall at the score of 356.
During the course of the knock, Sangakkara also became the fastest cricketer to amass 12000 runs in Test cricket, achieving the landmark in his 224th innings, reaching the feat in 23 fewer innings than Indian great Sachin Tendulkar.
Sangakkara close to Bradman’s record
The left-hander also took his double hundred tally to 11 and that now leaves him just one shy of equalling Sir Donald Bradman's record of 12 double tons.
When he was informed about being just one short of equalling the landmark, he said that he would love to equal Bradman’s feat and would take a decision on his Test career after the World Cup in February.
"I would love to equal Bradman. It just depends on how everything pans out after this World Cup. It's really hard to predict what will happen and what my thoughts will be about my future. I've promised the selectors that I'll really have a chat and reconsider to see if there are a few more months of cricket in me, Test-wise,” he said.
He has already announced that he will not play 50-over cricket after the World Cup in February. So he will certainly be looking to prolong his Test career for as much time as he possibly can.
Here’s a video of the sublime innings from Sangakkara.
You can catch the past winners of this series on this link: Recent Cricketers of the Week