Kumar Sangakkara explains his decision to retire in the middle of the India series
Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka cricket legend who is set to retire from the sport in the middle of the India-Sri Lanka series which starts from Wednesday, explained the logic behind his decision to retire after the first two Tests of the 3-match series – a part of a deal he had made with the Sri Lanka Cricket Board after the World Cup.
"The reason for the two and two split, even though it is not ideal, was the agreement I had with the previous selection committee when I was discussing my future," Sangakkara explained, according to NDTVSports.
"I had plans to retire immediately after the World Cup, but they wanted me to try and play a bit more Test cricket. Four Tests was all I could offer them and they were okay with that."
Feel like a dinosaur in dressing rooms: Sangakkara
The highest run-getter in Test cricket among current batsmen, and fifth highest in the all-time list headed by India's Sachin Tendulkar, Sangakkara said that he had taken the decision to retire because he felt like a ‘dinosaur’ in dressing rooms, with everyone else around him a decade younger.
Saying that the 37-year-old Rangana Herath in the Sri Lankan team and Surrey team-mate Gareth Batty, also 37, were the only ones who matched him in age, Sangakkara indicated that he felt out of place among the younger players.
"The rest are mostly 26," he said. "I feel like a dinosaur in their company. It convinced me this was the right time to go."
He turns 38 in October. His 12,305 runs and 38 centuries far exceed the second-placed Alastair Cook of England among currently playing cricketers, who has 9,223 runs and 27 hundreds.
His form in the Pakistan series was disappointing, but age has never been known to slow Sangakkara down. He became the first batsman to hammer four consecutive ODI centuries in the World Cup in Australia in February-March where Sri Lanka progressed till the quarter-finals.
It has now come out that his involvement in the Pakistan series was also part of the deal he had with his country; had he been given his way, he would have walked into the sunset even before that.
Sri Lankan problem of not being able to let go: Sangakkara
On Sangakkara’s retirement, the Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said: "If I had my way, I would want him to play for two more years. But we have to respect his decision and it is now up to the younger players to make a name for themselves."
Sangakkara had himself said in an interview a few months ago:
"I think in Sri Lanka we have real trouble letting go.
"If they want senior players to assist the team, to come and spend some time at training or in the dressing room, all that can be arranged. We are all willing to do that," he added.
"But my taking up a place for another few months is just delaying the future for someone else."