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Kumar Sangakkara to retire from first-class cricket after this season

Aadya Sharma
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 23 May 2017, 12:06 IST
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What’s the story?

Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara is set to walk away from the game at the end of this county season. The left-hander, who plays for Surrey, announced that the current English season will be his last as a player. 

"It's the last time I'll play a four-day game here [at Lord's]. I'll be 40 in a few months, this is about the end of my time in county cricket. Cricketers, or any sort of sportsperson, have an expiry date and you need to walk away. I have been very lucky to play for as long as I did so but there's a lot more life to be lived away from the game."

In case you didn’t know...

The 39-year-old stacked up massive figures during his international career with the Sri Lankan side, evolving from a wicket-keeper batsman to a pure batsman as his career progressed. In all, he has 38 Test and 60 first-class centuries to his credit, having scored runs at a more than impressive average of 57. In ODIs, he scored 25 hundreds for Sri Lanka, most notably the four back to back tons in the 2015 World Cup.

The heart of the matter

A graceful left-hander known for his lazy elegance and smooth technique, Sangakkara captained the Sri Lankan side to the finals of the 2011 World Cup, where they lost to India at the Wankhede. The team had also been beaten in the finals in the previous edition in 2007. 

Despite retiring from international cricket in 2015, Sangakkara continued to ply his trade in various domestic T20 leagues around the world, apart from sealing a deal with Sussex to play county cricket. Having previously represented Warwickshire and Durham, Sangakkara admitted that he really enjoyed his time at Surrey and termed the club to be a wonderful place to play the game.

The announcement must have taken his fans by a little surprise, for just a couple of days back, he had scored a century in each innings against Middlesex and was also in fine nick in the Royal London One-Day games. 

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What’s next?

Sangakkara conceded that he will turn 40 soon and believed it was the right time to end his county career. He said that the game at Lords will be his the last 40-over game that he plays, but he will be seen in action in the Caribbean Premier League, set to be held later this year.

Author’s Take

Sangakkara has been a great servant of the game, and a respected ambassador of Sri Lanka Cricket, seamlessly transforming into a senior statesman in the team after the retirement of bigwigs like Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan. Despite his advancing age, Sangakkara managed to rack up runs just like he did in his pomp, forcing his fans to wonder why he left international cricket at the peak of his powers. 

The influential and articulate cricketer that he is, a prominent role in the ICC could be in the offing. He could also go the coaching way, just like his long time friend Mahela Jayawardene, who won the IPL with the Mumbai Indians in the same capacity.

Published 23 May 2017, 08:44 IST
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