Sangakkara to retire after India Test series in August

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Sydney, March 8 (IANS) Ace batsman Kumar Sangakkara on Sunday said he will retire from Test cricket “by the end of August” when Sri Lanka hosts India in a three-match series.

The 37-year-old wicketkeeper has already announced retirement from One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty-20 cricket.

He quit the shortest format after winning the World T20 2014. He will quit ODI cricket post the ongoing World Cup.

“There are Test matches in June and July, and I will be done by the end of August. A series or two in June and in August, and that’s it,” left-handed Sangakkara was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.

In 130 Tests, Sangakkara has 12,203 runs, which makes him the fifth highest scorer. Only Sachin Tendulkar (15,921), Ricky Ponting (13,378), Jacques Kallis (13,289) and Rahul Dravid (13,288) are above him in the elite list.

Sangakkara has also scored 38 centuries and 51 half-centuries.

In the ongoing World Cup, Sangakkara has been in top form, hitting consecutive unbeaten tons leading into the Australia match.

The former captain said it was important for both him and the team to build momentum as the tournament progresses.

“I don’t know whether I am top of my game, I just bat according to situations. During the (preceding) New Zealand tour, it was the same thing, I didn’t have a good start in the first ODI but from the second it was just a case of building on runs,” said Sangakkara, a member of the team for past three World Cups.

“(For the team) it has gone pretty well up to now. Again a slow start, a bit shaky against Afghanistan, but pretty good in the last two games. It’s just a case of trying to ensure that we put up a good performance every time we go out and keep on improving.”

The World Cup will also be another former skipper Mahela Jayawardene’s last international assignment, and the pair’s departure will leave a big hole in Sri Lanka’s batting.

“It’s a bit archaic to think that senior players only have so much to give. You play your best cricket for your country and do the best for your side and sometimes young players don’t need as much help as people think they do. They need a little bit of freedom, a bit of love, a bit of care, and they’ll perform very well,” Sangakkara said.

The players earmarked to step into their shoes are Lahiru Thirimanne, a left-hander like Sangakkara, and Dinesh Chandimal.

“Whatever they need to learn, most of them will ask and learn, or watch and learn, they’ll have a chat with you. But whatever you have to offer might not be of benefit to a younger player.

“Maybe they need something else, maybe they are good enough and their perspectives are better than yours. Learning is a two-way street, you learn from them as well as young players learning from you,” he said.

“The best thing as a senior cricketer you can do is to hold your place in the side and pull your own weight and score runs if you’re a batsman, and if you are a bowler do the job that’s required of you.

“That’s the best way you can help the team or any youngster. As long as you are there and you are doing something useful, they’ll benefit.”

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