Kumar Sangakkara is expected to call time on his international career after three further matches – the last of which will be the first Test against India. The timing of his retirement will be finalised on Tuesday in a meeting with the national selectors, but Sangakkara has already informed the board that he will only play the first two Tests against Pakistan and one against India, as he juggles the tail-end of his international career with his commitment to county side Surrey.
This means Sangakkara is unlikely to play international cricket again in his hometown of Kandy, though he did have an unofficial farewell in Pallekele in December. The first two Tests against Pakistan are scheduled for Galle and Colombo, and the first Test against India is presently set for Galle – though the venues for that tour have not been formally announced. There appears a chance his farewell Test could be moved to Kandy, but with preparations already having begun for a major celebration in the south, Sangakkara will likely end his international career at the same venue he began it in – Galle.
Sangakkara had originally intended to retire from all formats following the World Cup, but was convinced to stay on for two more series by the former selectors and captain Angelo Mathews, among others. The present selectors had also hoped to convince the batsman to play all six Tests against Pakistan and India, but Sangakkara had remained firm in his decision to step away. Surrey’s schedule also played a role in limiting the number of Tests Sangakkara would play in these series.
With 12,203 Test runs, 38 Test hundreds and an average of 58.66, Sangakkara will retire as Sri Lanka’s most successful Test batsman, and will likely stay fifth on the overall run-tally. Having hit a double ton in January this year, however, he is also only one short of Donald Bradman’s record double century count of 12.
Sangakkara was also the fastest batsman to 8000, 9000, 10,000 (joint fastest with Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara), 11,000 and 12,000 Test runs, in terms of innings played, and presently the top-ranked Test batsman in the world.
The latest unconfirmed schedule for the India series has Sangakkara’s farewell match beginning on August 18. Sangakkara is expected to play for Surrey in between the second Pakistan Test and the first game against India. (Courtesy ESPN Cricinfo)