The humble, simple legend of Sri Lanka cricket

Sangakkara explains his approach to the game and his career

17:37 April 7, 2014
Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara

Mirpur: It was a dramatic finish to the international T20 careers of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at the final of the International Cricket Council World Twenty20 Cup.

Sangakkara, who hit an unbeaten 52 to sign off from the format with the Player of the Final award, turned emotional when Gulf News asked him about his feelings. In a voice choked with emotion, he said: “It’s amazing. I can’t explain it. This is the first time I have been part of a team that has won a World Cup. We’ve been disappointed four times before. It’s hard to describe exactly what you feel but you feel humble.”

Sangakkara then went on to thank everyone starting from his teammates, fans, support staff and his family and then made a remark that illustrated how humble a person he is as a cricketer. “You may be the best batsman or the best bowler in the world, but you can’t do anything without support. You can never do anything alone. At moments like this, you have to look back, reflect and be thankful for that support, because without that you wouldn’t be here. It’s been an amazing journey. It’s time to walk away, and to walk away like this is even better.”

When he was the captain, Sangakkara was always a journalists’ delight since his answers always made good copy. When asked about how emotional he was, Sangakkara revealed one of his traits: “I am a great believer that if you get emotional you have to use it to your advantage. If not, then forget about being emotional. When we had 11 runs to get and I top-edged a boundary, I knew it was a couple of shots away and with Thisara [Perera] at the other end, it was a done deal. That’s when I thought I could show some emotion. Sometimes you have to pump yourself up to get over the line. That’s what happened today.”

When another scribe asked him whether the game owes them anything for their contribution to cricket, Sangakkara said: “I don’t think the game owes us, or any player, anything. Our job is to try and play it as best as we can and walk away hopefully having made a positive impact. The game gives us the opportunities and it’s up to us to try and take them. We had four opportunities before this, but only today we took it. You need a bit of ability, luck, planning, and execution. It’s all about the right place, right time, and the right game.”

To a query as to how he felt when the entire team wanted to win it for Jayawardene and him as a parting gift, Sangakkara said: “It’s wonderful that the side wanted to win it for us, but there are 20 million other people to win for. It’s not just about me or Mahela [Jayawardene]. It’s about an entire squad, everyone who stands with you and behind you. We get noticed because it’s our last T20 game but at the end of the day, everyone has played a part.”