Sangakkara to retire from Test cricket in August

"I will be done by the end of August"

“I will be done by the end of August”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara has confirmed that he will retire from Test cricket after the three-Test series against India in August.

Even though he has made three consecutive centuries in his last three World Cup matches, Sangakkara believes he is making the right decision.

“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,” Sangakkara, who will quit ODIs after the ongoing World Cup, told ESPNcricinfo.

While he was at a loss of words to explain his red-hot form with the bat as of late, Sangakkara insisted that his performances with the bat will not matter unless Sri Lanka get their World Cup campaign back on track following a 64-run loss to Australia on Sunday.

“I don’t know whether I am top of my game, I just bat according to situations,” he said. “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 onwards it was just a case of building on runs.

“[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.”

However, joining Sangakkara into ODI retirement is long-time friend and team-mate Mahela Jayawardene.

With both players having been the anchor of Sri Lanka’s middle order for nearly a decade now, Sri Lanka will have to act fast to find suitable replacements since Sangakkara and Jayawardene are hanging up their boots at the same time.

What can be said for sure is that the national selectors will find it extremely tough to choose two batsmen that will step up and plug the massive hole left in Sri Lanka’s middle order.

However, Sanagakkara has already chosen two batsmen who be believes are the right candidates to take over after he and Jayawardene step away from the game.

One is batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, who has the unique capability of being able to bat at any position on the batting order. In addition to that, he has been in excellent form as of late and even scored a career-best 139 not out against England on March 1.

“He [Thirimanne] batted beautifully and fought through some tough situations,” Sangakkara said. “He’s done a lot of hard work for the team and seems to be very impressive.

“Thiri is much better than where I was when I was his age, I think he can only get better and that’s really exciting for us.”

The other is wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal, who has been extremely inconsistent throughout his international career, which is why he has constantly been in and out of the national team.

Despite this, Sangakkara believes that Chandimal has a bright future ahead of him since he has shown flashes of pure brilliance throughout his time with the national team.

“Unfortunately he’snot had some good outings here,” Sangakkara said. “He batted really well in the last two games against England in Sri Lanka, came here and unfortunately was not in the side for the first three-four New Zealand games. Since then it’s been a tough comeback for him.

“He’s batting well, he is a great player, really positive. He’s got everything to make him a really good player for Sri Lanka. I hope he keeps getting the opportunity and when he does, keeps doing what’s required of him.

“Technique or anything else, it’s about scoring runs. Chandi has shown he has the ability to score runs especially against good attacks. Coming in the second Test at Wellington and batting at 85 for 5 and getting 70-odd was another tough knock under pressure. He has the ability to do that, he just needs be free and happy and keep getting opportunities.”

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