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Sri Lanka's ex-assistant coach Paul Farbrace calls Kumar Sangakkara 'most professional cricketer'

Sangakkara has been one of the legends of cricket

Kumar Sangakkara inspects the pitch for his last Test

Sri Lanka’s former assistant coach has called Kumar Sangakkara the most professional cricketer he has ever trained. Paul Farbrace went so far as to say that Sangakkara helped him become a better coach.

“Kumar is, without doubt, the most professional I have ever seen in practice," Farbrace said, according to ESPN cricinfo. "I've never seen anyone practise like him. Some get close, but his desire to be the best he can be is unbelievable. The day before a match he is - in the nicest sense - a complete pain. His practice has to be top quality.

"He watches videos of bowlers to work out when he should be making his movements. It takes a lot of thought. It takes a lot of understanding. He is a cricketing genius."

Sangakkara taught me coaching lesson: Farbrace

Farbrace and Sangakkara have had a very rewarding association. The Sri Lankan World T20 win in 2009, the 2014 World Cup victory, Sangakkara’s highest Test aggregate (424, against Bangladesh) – all came under Farbrace.

"Kumar taught me a very valuable coaching lesson," Farbrace said. "He is very specific about his left foot. It moves from middle and leg to middle and off. Never back and across, never forward - it never opens. I was watching him in the nets and concentrating more on the bowlers than him. But after about 10 balls he asked how his foot was looking. I told him it looked great, as he had been hitting the ball nicely.

"After the net, he took me to one side and said, 'Next time I ask you a question like that, be honest with me. Three times my foot went back and across towards leg stump, not the other way, and I don't want any false information.' That was a huge lesson for me. I should have said I hadn't been watching. I should have been honest. I learned so much from him. And I know the players around him learned from that level of professionalism."

Kumar very good at deflecting credit: Farbrace

Farbrace calls both Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene "world-class people as well as world-class players".

"I recall we had a Test in Kandy once when I was unwell. First he took me to a doctor for treatment to help me get over an ear infection, and then we stopped at a local ground where he had a bat on a concrete net in front of his dad.

"His dad has clearly been a constant throughout his career. He pushed and encouraged him when he was young and he continued to provide advice and reassurance. Anyway, Kumar never forgot how he had become successful. Even when he was at his peak, he would go back to see his dad and make sure no faults had crept into his game."

In Farbrace’s opinion, Sangakkara is so successful because of his versatility. His away average stands at 54.07. 

"Kumar is very good at deflecting credit towards other people. He always talks about how good Mahela is and how much he has inspired their nation. He talks about him being their greatest captain. But he has given so much to his country and so much to the game. I have got him to talk to England players in the past. He will share his knowledge with anyone who has the passion that he has.”

Farbrace has pushed hard for Sangakkara to get a temporary consultancy role with England.

"I don't think the Sri Lankan team will realise quite how big a contribution he has made until he is no longer there."

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