Kumar Sangakkara Biography
In several dimensions, each of them prominent and some exclusive, Kumar Sangakkara is special.
He is the Sri Lankan batsman who is unquestionably world class, be it his majestic numbers or his exquisite cover-drives. He was also a wicketkeeper for a fair period, good enough to handle the vagaries dished out on Sri Lankan snake pits by Muttiah Muralitharan. Finally, he is perhaps the only leading cricketer to profess a fancy for Oscar Wilde.
At home against the best of bowling, he is equally at ease when addressing the entire cricket world —delivering the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at the age of just 33. He can write his speeches better than most of the hacks in business. He takes on the greatest of bowlers and also challenges the quagmires of Sri Lanka’s political establishment and cricket administration. He is a voice of the nation, bearing hopes, dreams and promises of the future after years of turmoil, terrorism and civil wars.
He amasses runs — lots of them. With eight double centuries, Sangakkara is behind Don Bradman’s 12 and Brian Lara’s nine in the all-time tally. He is also the classiest ever to emerge from the island, a synthesis of style, pedigree and panache.
His batting was too priceless to squander for the extra value he brought in as a stumper — hence he had to give up the role in Tests. Indeed, as a specialist batsman he averages close to 70. In the One-Day game, he has performed both the jobs with success — although not as prolific as in the longer format.
He was a rather reluctant captain — the selectors initially preferring the more down to earth diplomacy of Mahela Jayawardene. Sangakkara accepted his buddy’s leadership, becoming a loyal advisor. Their friendship and contribution to Sri Lanka’s cause were sealed when they added 624 against South Africa at Colombo.
Sangakkara did become skipper in 2009. He led in 15 Tests — winning five, losing three. He also led Sri Lanka to the finals of the World T20I in 2009 and the World Cup in India in 2011. Later, as the best batsman of the side, he guided them to the ICC World T20I crown in 2014.