Kumar Sangakkara to retire from first-class cricket after the 2017 county season

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Kumar Sangakkara to retire from first-class cricket after the 2017 county season

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SportsCafe Desk

05/23/2017

Former Sri Lankan wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara has announced that he would retire from first-class cricket at the end of the English County Championship season in September. Sangakkara is still in prime form, having scored two centuries for Surrey in their match against Middlesex at Lord’s.

With the two centuries against Middlesex, Sangakkara went past 20,000 first-class runs and became the first Sri Lankan batsman to reach the milestone. In a colossal Test career, he averaged a shade over 57 across 134 Tests, making 11 double centuries in that time. He joined Surrey in the 2015 season and has been an important part since then.

Speaking about his decision to retire, he told BBC Sport, "You try to fight the inevitable but you need to get out while you're ahead. It's the last time I'll play a four-day game here [at Lord's]. I'll be 40 in a few months, this is about the end of my time in county cricket."

Despite his advancing years, Sangakkara's batting prowess has not dwindled and he has continued to amass runs at will in every part of the cricketing world. But he doesn’t want to stay on for too long in the fear of ending up as a pale shadow of his former self. 

"The biggest mistake that sometimes you can make is that you think you're better than you really are"

Kumar Sangakkara

"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." 

Last week, the Marylebone Cricket Club unveiled a recently commissioned portrait of Sangakkara and fellow Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene, with whom he formed a lot of memorable partnerships.

“I was humbled when I was asked to sit for the portrait commissioned by MCC,” Sangakkara said in a Marylebone Cricket Club statement. “It is a great honour to be on the walls (at Lord’s). I wanted to know how I would be represented through Antony’s eyes; not just my expressions or my physical appearance but how he would interpret me as a whole.

His decision to bring the curtains down on his red-ball sojourn will also mark the epilogue of one of the finest cricketing careers in the modern-day cricket. In a career spanning over almost two decades, Sangakkara scored 60 centuries in first-class cricket at an average of 51 and more than 25,000 runs in List A cricket including 25 ODI hundreds. He has always been a wonderful ambassador of the game and with him closing the door on his career, a golden chapter in Sri Lankan cricket also passes into history.

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