Kumar Sangakkara (left) with Sachin Tendulkar after India won the ICC World Cup 2011 © Getty Images
Kumar Sangakkara (left) with Sachin Tendulkar after India won the ICC World Cup 2011 © Getty Images

Kumar Sangakkara, who is playing his final Test series before hanging his boots, spoke to the media ahead of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka at Galle starting on Wednesday. He said, “I had plans to retire after World Cup but Sri Lanka Cricket wanted me to play some more Test cricket. Galle is my favourite Test ground in the world, great backdrop to play, very special ground.” Terming the win in England in 2014 as his best overseas tour ever, Sangakkara mentioned that beating Australia in 2010 One-Day International (ODI) series as memorable. Sangakkara also said that when the first time he toured South Africa and 98, he felt that he is capable of playing Tests.

“Everyone remembers you differently, especially when you play and after you retire,” Sangakkara was quoted as saying by Jaspreet Sahni of IBNlive.

Speaking on India and Sri Lanka’s rivalry, Sangakkara termed it as ‘great’. “When you are up against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Darvid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, you know you are in with a tough job (sic).”

“Sanath Jayasuriya and Sehwag are two players I think played in similar style for Sri Lanka and India,” Sangakkara added.

Admiring Tendulkar’s straight drive, Sangakkara said, “Always strived to play that Tendulkar-like straight drive.”

Sangakkara said that he loved watching Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane bat and added that Steven Smith and Joe Root have been exceptional.

The southpaw recalled the Sri Lanka team being attack in Lahore as the scariest moment of his life. Sangakkara said, “Pakistan people have always welcomed us but to play there or not is not decided by players. For Thilan Samaraweera to come out after being shot in Lahore and score a hundred in his next Test innings was incredible.Cricket needs to be spared by terror incidents.”

“I will definitely miss cricket without a doubt but there is so much cricket these days after retirement. We were in New Zealand at the time of Tsunami and were devastated to see the pictures but admire the resilience of Galle to come back.”

He also added, “Relationship with players, board, media and public has to be in balance.”