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Why Kumar Sangakkara is, statistically at least, the greatest batsman after Don Bradman

Kumar Sangakkara was one of the leading cricketers in world cricket for the last 15 years during which played in 134 Tests.

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Kumar Sangakkara was one of the leading cricketers in world cricket for the last 15 years during which he played in 134 Tests (scoring 12,400 runs, 182 catches, 131 catches as a wicket-keeper as well as 20 stumpings), 404 ODIs (14,234 runs, 402 catches, 383 as wicket-keeper and 99 stumpings) and 56 T20Is (1,382 runs, 26 catches as wicket-keeper and 20 stumpings).

He also led Sri Lanka in 15 Tests, 45 ODIs and 22 ODIs. One of his finest hours came when he inspired Sri Lanka to the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011.

Here are some of his career’s amazing stats:

14 - Sangakkara has the most number of 190-plus scores in Tests. He is followed by Don Bradman (12) and Brian Lara (11), and Mahela Jayawardene, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar have 8 each.

57.40 - Sangakkara's batting average is the fifth best among batsmen with at least 5000 runs. Sangakkara made 12400 runs including 38 hundreds and 52 fifties in the 134 Tests he played. He finished with 6830 runs in Sri Lanka, the second most by any batsman behind Jayawardene.

66.78 - Sangakkara averaged 66.78 as a pure batsman in Tests, as compared to 40.48 as a wicketkeeper, with 22 of his 38 Test centuries coming after he gave up the gloves.

12400 - Sangakkara has finished his Test career with the fifth highest aggregate in Tests. Only four batsmen have managed more runs than him - Sachin Tendulkar (15921), Ricky Ponting (13378), Jacques Kallis (13289) and Rahul Dravid (13288).

5th - Among the batsmen with 6,000 runs or more in Tests, his average is the fifth highest - the top four being Australia’s Bradman (99.94), England’s Ken Barrington (58.67) and Wally Hammond (58.45) and Gary Sobers (57.78).

60.44 - His tally of 6830 (ave.60.44) in 75 Tests is the second highest by any batsman in Sri Lanka. Mahela Jayawardene had managed 7167 (ave.59.72) in 81 Tests.

60-plus - Among the seven batsmen with 6,000 runs or more at home, Sangakkara is the only one to have maintained an average of 60-plus.

500 - Sangakkara batted 500 minutes on 8 occasions in his Test career, a World Record.

100 - Sangakkara has the highest Test career aggregate (12400) in multiples of 100. He is followed by Graham Gooch (8900), Ian Botham (5200) and Imran Farhat (2400).

Lefty - Sangakkara has scored most number of runs of all the left-handed ODI batsmen overall.

Most runs in Tests

Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 0
SR Tendulkar 1989-2013 200 329 33 15921 248* 53.78 51 68 14
RT Ponting 1995-2012 168 287 29 13378 257 51.85 41 62 17
JH Kallis 1995-2013 166 280 40 13289 224 55.37 45 58 16
R Dravid 1996-2012 164 286 32 13288 270 52.31 36 63 8
KC Sangakkara 2000-2015 134 233 17 12400 319 57.40 38 52 11
BC Lara 1990-2006 131 232 6 11953 400* 52.88 34 48 17

Looking at the above table, it is clear that statistically speaking, Sangakkara is the greatest of all the members of the 10,000-run club. He may have been fifth in the list of players with the most number of Test runs, but his average among them all is the highest. His centuries-to-innings ratio is also the best, as is his number of double centuries. 

If Sangakkara would have prolonged his career and played as many innings as Tendulkar did, we could have seen him cross 18500-plus runs easily. Moreover, had the Sri Lankan played the same number of innings as Tendulkar did, there could have been the possibility of him overtaking Tendulkar’s tally of centuries too.

Sangakkara’s retirement is a big blow to the Sri Lankan cricket team, and filling his shoes will be one huge task. He was one player who could score in every condition, and his excellent statistics place him very favourably when compared with past cricket greats. The numbers don’t lie: statistically, Sangakkara is clearly the greatest batsman of the 10,000-run club, and possibly the greatest batsman, period, since Don Bradman.

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