Kumar Sangakkara is a Sri Lankan cricketer who has made an indelible mark on the international cricket scene. With his elegant stroke play and reliable wicket-keeping, he has won the respect of fans and fellow players alike. Having played close to 500 international games for Sri Lanka, Sangakkara's career has spanned over a decade and a half. He has shattered records and captained his team with grace and finesse. This profile will take you through his journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of cricket's most respected players.
Kumar Sangakkara was born on October 27th, 1977, in Matale, Sri Lanka. Known for his love of cricket from an early age, he began playing the sport at the age of nine with Kandy's Trinity College team as a wicket-keeper batsman. His passion for the game continued to grow as he represented his country's Under-19 team before making his first-class debut for Nondescripts Cricket Club in Colombo in 1997.
Despite facing initial struggles with the national team, he persevered and made his breakthrough in style against Zimbabwe A in 2000 when he scored a blistering 156 runs. It was then that observers started taking notice of him as someone special. Over time, Sangakkara became known for his consistent performances both behind the stumps and with bat-in-hand.
Sangakkara rose to prominence during Sri Lanka's tour of England in 2002 when he scored back-to-back centuries against Zimbabwe at home before scoring another century against India away from home later that year. He soon became a regular fixture in Sri Lanka's middle order.
In September 2009, Mahela Jayawardene stepped down from the captaincy of the Sri Lankan cricket team, and at the age of 31, Sangakkara succeeded him as captain in all formats of the game. His first assignment was to lead his team to the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 held in England, where Sri Lanka finished runners-up.
Under his leadership, Sri Lanka won the Tri-series in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and Sri Lanka, defeating India as well. The team also achieved their first-ever series victory in Australia under Sangakkara's leadership, winning both the T20 and ODI series.
Sangakkara is known for his versatility as a wicket-keeper batsman. He has scored over 10,000 runs in both Tests and ODIs, earning him a place among cricket's greatest names. He became one of only a few batsmen to have achieved this feat.
During his playing days, he captained the Hyderabad franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for three years from 2011 to 2013. He played a pivotal role in giving direction to Sri Lankan cricket as captain of the national side and led them to wins in tri-series tournaments and victories over India.
In terms of records, Sangakkara is second only to Sir Don Bradman on the list of players with the most double centuries. He retired from ODI cricket after performing exceptionally at the 2015 World Cup where he scored over 500 runs and became the first batsman ever to score four centuries in a single World Cup tournament.
Sangakkara is known for his elegant stroke play which has been likened to that of Brian Lara's style of batting. With an impeccable sense of timing and balance at the crease combined with quick thinking behind stumps when keeping wickets; he proved himself as one of cricket's most valuable assets.
Off the field, Sangakkara is involved in charitable work through the Foundation of Goodness launched by his former teammate Muttiah Muralitharan. He has become a respected commentator and analyst, giving his views on numerous cricketing matters.
Kumar Sangakkara's impressive statistics in ICC tournaments highlighted his importance to Sri Lanka cricket. He was one of the most consistent performers for Sri Lanka in World Cups, scoring 1,532 runs at an average of 56.74. His tally included five centuries and seven half-centuries.
Sangakkara was instrumental in guiding Sri Lanka to the final of the 2011 World Cup, held in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. During the tournament, he scored four centuries, becoming the first player to achieve that feat. In the final against India, he scored for Sri Lanka with a well-compiled 48 but could not prevent a six-wicket loss for his team.
In T20 World Cups, Sangakkara was an integral part of Sri Lanka's team that reached three finals consecutively from 2009 to 2014. Although they lost their first two finals against Pakistan and West Indies respectively, they finally won their maiden ICC trophy under his captaincy in 2014.
Besides ICC tournaments, Sangakkara had a prolific outing during Sri Lanka's tour of England in 2014 when he amassed over 300 runs in just two Tests with an unbeaten knock of 147 at Lord's being his highlight.
Sangakkara also made a significant contribution to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) during his stint with them in IPL from 2011 to 2015. He scored over 1200 runs at an average of above 40 and played a crucial role during their title-winning campaign in IPL season eight.
Sangakkara was known for his exceptional wicket-keeping skills combined with elegant stroke play as a batsman. He possessed excellent technique and timing while playing both pace and spin bowling.
As a wicket-keeper, he had quick reflexes and had a safe pair of hands behind the stumps. In addition, his ability to read the game and provide inputs to the captain made him an invaluable asset. He was often seen as a mentor to young cricketers in the Sri Lankan dressing room.
Sangakkara's batting style mainly revolved around his ability to adapt to different match situations, defying traditional roles assigned to batsmen. He could play aggressively or anchor a run-chase or rescue Sri Lanka from dire straits with a defensive approach. His trademark cover drive was a testament to his elegant stroke play.
Off the field, Sangakkara was known for his articulate and intelligent personality. He had a keen interest in reading books, which was reflected in his thoughtful speeches during various events.
Sangakkara had leadership qualities that were evident through his successful stint as captain of the Sri Lankan team. Under his leadership, Sri Lanka won their first Test series against Pakistan in 2009 and achieved their first-ever ODI series win against Australia in 2010.
He also captained SRH in IPL from 2011 to 2013 where he led them to playoffs twice despite not having top-class players at their disposal.
Apart from cricket, Sangakkara has been actively involved in charity work through the Foundation of Goodness launched by his former teammate Muttiah Muralitharan.
As far as controversies are concerned, Sangakkara has maintained a clean image throughout his career both on and off-field.
Kumar Sangakkara's playing style and leadership have had a significant impact on Sri Lankan cricket. His elegant strokeplay, along with his wicket-keeping abilities, made him one of the most complete players in modern-day cricket. Sangakkara was part of Sri Lanka's golden generation, which achieved great success under his captaincy.
Sangakkara was an inspiration to future cricketers in Sri Lanka and beyond. His leadership qualities were admired by fans and fellow players alike. He was a role model for younger players and set high standards both on and off the field.
In terms of records, Sangakkara is one of the few batsmen to have scored over 10,000 runs in both Tests and ODIs. He also held the record for the fastest player to reach 8,000, 9,000, and 10,000 ODI runs before Virat Kohli surpassed him.
Sangakarra's partnership with Mahela Jayawardene was particularly noteworthy. The duo put on several match-winning partnerships for Sri Lanka during their playing careers. They hold the world record for the highest partnership in Test cricket - a mammoth 624 against South Africa at Colombo in 2006.
Kumar Sangakkara has received numerous awards throughout his career. He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year twice (in 2011 and 2015) - a testament to his immense talent as a player.
Sangakkara was included in ICC World ODI XI four times (in 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2013), as well as in the World Test Team five times (in 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2014). In addition to this recognition, he was also named the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2012.
As a captain, Sangakkara led Sri Lanka to victory in the tri-series in Bangladesh and a win over India. He also guided Sri Lanka to the final of the 2011 World Cup, where they lost to India. However, his performance was remarkable throughout the tournament - he scored 465 runs at an average of 93.
Kumar Sangakkara will always be remembered as one of Sri Lanka's greatest cricketers. His legacy goes beyond just his playing career - he has been a source of inspiration for future generations of cricketers both in Sri Lanka and around the world.
Sangakkara's elegant stroke play and leadership qualities have made him a fan favourite among cricket enthusiasts. His partnership with Mahela Jayawardene is regarded as one of the best in cricket history.
In addition to his on-field achievements, Sangakkara has also been involved in charitable work through the Foundation of Goodness, launched by his former teammate Muttiah Muralitharan.
Kumar Sangakkara's contribution to cricket will always be cherished by fans all over the world. As Wisden said while naming him Cricketer of the Year: "Few players have contributed more richly or gracefully to their country’s cricketing heritage."
What are Kumar Sangakkara's career statistics?
Kumar Sangakkara played 134 Test matches, scoring 12,400 runs at an average of 57.40. In ODIs, he played 404 matches, amassing 14,234 runs at an average of 41.98. In Twenty20 Internationals, he played 56 matches and scored 1,382 runs at an average of 31.40.
Was Kumar Sangakkara a successful captain?
Yes, Kumar Sangakkara had success as a captain for Sri Lanka in all three formats of the game. Under his leadership, Sri Lanka reached the finals of both the 2007 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup.
Has Kumar Sangakkara received any awards for his performances?
Yes, Kumar Sangakkara has received several awards throughout his career. He was named ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2012 and ICC Test Player of the Year in both 2012 and 2014. He was also recognized as Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2011.
What is Kumar Sangakkara's current role in cricket?
Kumar Sangakkara currently serves as a cricket commentator and holds the position of Director of Cricket for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
How has Kumar Sangakkara contributed to the growth of cricket?
Kumar Sangakkara's contributions to cricket extend beyond his playing career. He has held key positions in major cricket organizations, including serving as the President of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). He has also been actively involved in promoting the spirit of the game and driving its growth globally.