Kumar Sangakkara didn’t get a fairytale farewell fit for an all-time great, but the cricketer did get a pleasant surprise on the final day of his last test: The government offered him a role as Sri Lanka’s envoy in Britain.
President Maithripala Sirisena, who attended a ceremony to honor Sangakkara on his retirement Monday after Sri Lanka’s loss to India at Colombo’s P.Sara Oval, asked the batting great to accept the position.
Sangakkara told reporters later that he was surprised at the request. “I actually just heard it and it got me surprised. So I have to go and think about it and really have a proper chat with his excellency as well,” Sangakkara said.
Sangakkara was carried around the ground on his teammates’ shoulders after a somewhat disappointing end his illustrious 15-year career. Sri Lanka suffered a 278-run defeat at the hands of India which enabled them level the three-match series 1-1. Sangakkara himself aggregated just 50 runs from both innings.
In an emotional speech, Sangakkara had some advice to offer captain Angelo Mathews.
“I hope you just work hard and enjoy the sport, sport you will play only for a short time, it comes and goes,” he said. “But don’t be afraid. Take pride in what you do, don’t be afraid to lose when you are searching for a win and keep Sri Lanka’s flag flying high.”
Sangakkara began his cricket at Trinity College, an Anglican mission school in the central city of Kandy, and then started his first-class career at the Nondescripts Cricket Club.
His performances earned his a one-day international call up against Pakistan in 2000 and he made his test debut against South Africa shortly afterward.
Since then he played 134 test matches for 12,500 runs at an average of more than 57.
Sangakkara retired from limited overs cricket after this year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. By then he had scored 14,234 runs in 404 ODIs and 1,382 runs in 56 Twenty20 internationals.