Kumar Sangakkara has been chosen as both one of the Five Cricketers of the Year and the Leading Cricketer in the World for 2011 in the 2012 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, it was announced on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old Sangakkara, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation and for much of his career a top-class wicketkeeper as well, became the first man to receive both awards since Wisden, ‘cricket’s bible’, started naming a leading cricketer of the year in 2004.
In 2011, no-one else came close to the 2,267 runs Sangakkara scored in all international cricket, and he is now the only man to have topped 1,000 runs in Tests and One-day Internationals in a single year on three separate occasions.
The left-hander also captained Sri Lanka to the World Cup final, where they were beaten by co-hosts India in Mumbai.
Off the field, he also received worldwide praise for giving a deeply heartfelt MCC Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s which caused shockwaves in his homeland when he called for the end of political interference in Sri Lankan cricket.
Sangakkara’s career Test record of over 9,000 runs in 108 matches with 28 hundreds at an average of nearly 55 stands comparison with all but a handful of cricket’s greatest batsmen.
Wisden, published every year since 1864, is widely regarded as cricket’s leading reference work. (AFP)