Kumar Sangakkara set to retire from first-class cricket
At 39, Kumar Sangakkara is still in prime form having scored a century in both the innings against Middlesex in his most recent match for Surreycricket Updated: May 23, 2017 12:38 IST
Former Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara has indicated that this will be his final season in the English County Championship and he will retire from first-class cricket once his current stint ends with Surrey in September.
Sangakkara, one of the legends of Sri Lankan cricket, has over 20,000 runs in first-class cricket, besides being the fifth-highest run-getter of all time in Tests. He also has over 14,000 runs in the ODI format, and was an integral part of the Sri Lanka side that lost the two consecutive World Cup finals against Australia and India in 2007 and 2011, respectively.
At 39, too, the southpaw is still in prime form having scored a century in both the innings against Middlesex in the match that ended on Monday. However, Sangakkara feels that it’s best to hang the boots when one’s still good at it.
“You try to fight the inevitable but you need to get out while you’re ahead,” Sangakkara said. “It’s the last time I’ll play a four-day game here. I’ll be 40 in a few months; this is about the end of my time in county cricket.”
“The biggest mistake that sometimes you can make is that you think you’re better than you really are,” he said.
“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.”
Sangakkara still has a contract with Jamaica Tallawahs though. “The mercenary in me is still alive,” he joked, before adding, “No one wants an old dog just playing for the sake of it. All in all, I’ll have a few more months but that’ll be it.”
Sangakkara has been synonymous to the growth of Sri Lankan cricket over the past two decades and has had a number of memorable partnerships with Mahela Jayawardene, including a 624 in Colombo against a South African pace attack that had the likes of Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini in their prime.
Last week, the Marylebone Cricket Club unveiled portraits of the duo at Lord’s, which went on display on the opening day of Surrey’s match against Middlesex.
Taking a walk down memory lane, Sangakkara went on to recall his last Test at Lord’s in 2014 when he scored his first century at the prestigious ground.
“I sat here in my last Test at Lord’s hoping to get a hundred. But also, at that time, I was thinking ‘wouldn’t it be funny if I got a duck?’ It was nice to go through the processes and bat again at Lord’s. It’s probably the last time I’ll play a four-day game here,” Sangakkara added before signing off.