Kumar Sangakkara, the man who retires as a Sri Lankan legend of the gentleman’s game at the age of 37, is widely known for his polished and prudent batting in all the three formats of the game. The wicket-keeper batsman has featured in 133 Test matches for Sri Lanka and has scored 12,310 runs at an impressive average of 57.79 with the 319 he scored against Bangladesh in 2014 as his individual best score.He has 38 Test centuries and 51 half centuries to his credit. In the ODI format, he has appeared in 404 matches for his country, amassing a total of 14.234 runs at an average of 41.98 with 169 as his personal best. He has scored 25 centuries and 93 half centuries in ODIs.The world of cricket will soon see the end of an illustrious 16-year career, that of Kumar Sangakkara, who is loved throughout the globe for being the player and the person he is. We have all seen him on the field playing for Sri Lanka or for the franchise sides, but most of us would not be knowing how talented he is. We take a look at the five things about him you probably didn't know-
#1 His first love was not cricket
Like the other cricketing genius of this age, AB De Villiers, Sangakkara was a talented sportsman from a very early age in a variety of sports. Badminton, tennis, swimming, table tennis and cricket were sports he competed in while in junior school.
He also represented his nation at junior levels in badminton and tennis. It is known that the principal of his school convinced his mother to encourage him to concentrate on cricket.
He was also a brilliant student, and was awarded the highest honour of being the best all-round student in his year from his college.
#2 He is a lawyer
You can mess with Sanga on the field, but dont ever mess with him off the field, because the great Kumar Sangakkara is also a lawyer. Following in his fathers footsteps, after he finished with his schooling, Sanga entered the Law Faculty of the University of Colombo, but was unable to finish his degree due to cricketing commitments.
But later on, the Srilankan got his Masters degree from the University.
Sanga was cited as an inspiration to continue his higher education by Bangladeshi captain Mushfiqur Rahim who said It is appreciated that someone like Sangakkara's sports personality is shaped by his education. He is obviously an inspiration.
Maybe Sanga has finally decided to practice law after all.
#3 Cowdrey Lecture
Kumar Sangakkara delivered the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lords in 2011. He became the youngest person and the first current international player to deliver that lecture, which was widely praised by the cricketing community.
The one-hour-long speech was based on the history and the corruption in the cricket administration in Sri Lanka. In his speech, he said: accountability and transparency in administration and credibility of conduct were lost in a mad power struggle that would leave Sri Lankan cricket with no clear, consistent administration, and observed that these problems in administration had risen only after Sri Lankas 1996 Cricket World Cup victory.
He also blamed a handful of well-meaning individuals who control the game, wasting the cricket boards finances and resources. Sanga has been widely appreciated for the lecture and for bringing the truth to the outside world and despite the critical comments made by Sanga for the Sri Lankan government officials, it has been described as the most important speech in cricket history.
The lecture has been added to the English syllabus in schools in Sri Lanka. He can be a lecturer as well maybe.
#4 He does charity
Sangakkara, with his smile, looks like a decent gentleman, and he is one. Over the years, he has been involved in a number of charity works in Sri Lanka and other countries. He is also a member of the Think Wise Initiative, launched by International Cricket Council, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and UNICEF, which is aimed at raising awareness about HIV prevention and eliminating discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.
He is also a partner of the Foundation of Goodness, a charity launched by Muttiah Muralitharan. Sangakkara has actively worked in the times of disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes in his homeland and other countries.
He has always been seen working for his NGO in his free time and plans to give back to his country and its men the love they have given him for the last 16 years.
#5 He can play the violin too
We all know that Kumar Sangakkara is well known for his heroics with the bat and what he can do with it. But his hands are not just used to hold the bat or take amazing catches, they are also used to play violin like a maestro! The Indian audiences might have seen Kumar playing the violin when he was interviewed by kids, but all of you must also know the unseen side of this great player.
After retirement, I would want Sangakkara to carry on- delivering lectures like the one he gave at MCC, doing charity and helping people, be the lawyer and bring the guilty to justice and provide all of his fans with something to cheer about. Good luck Sanga!