Kumar Sangakkara’s Future Foretold in February 2002 By Sunil Thenabadu
(This was the first article of the writer published in a english newspaper under the caption “Have your Say” in February 2002 foretelling the future of legendary Kumar Sangakkara)
There is absolutely no doubt that with consistent performances, the young, talented and dynamic wicket keeper batsman, Kumar Sangakkara has cemented a permanent place in both Sri Lanka’s test and one day teams.
His past performances have been praised, hailed and acclaimed by international commentators viz Tony Greig, Ravi Shastri, Martin Crow, Ramiz Raja, Barry Richards, Navjot Sidhu, and Bruce Yardley. He possesses correct technique, ideal temperament, aggressive instinct and exquisite timing with strokes all around the wicket. Bruce Yardley, a former Sri Lankan coach and a past Australian cricketer when commentating has said repeatedly he loves to see Kumar Sangakkara bat. He says he is all the time exciting, trying to pile runs, penetrates the field and is extremely stylish and a treat to watch. His wicket keeping too has improved tremendously.
Since his inclusion in our team, his numerous substantial contributions made with the bat have been enormous. He has delivered when seniors failed. His present batting average is 46.17, which is increasing with each game. (Only Mahela Jayawardena averages slightly above him). He always scores speedily. When quick runs were needed for early declarations he has set the pace and proved his mettle.
I feel that for a youngster with talent in abundance, his morale has to be boosted through the local media. But it has not been the exact case. Kumar made a century by coming in at No. 3 during a test match against India at the Galle International Stadium. While wickets were falling at regular intervals at the opposite end, he held his end like a rock scoring runs as well. When he was in the 80s, No. 11 walked in. Without being anxious and nervous, he allowed No. 11 to face even Srinath. When he got the strike he hoisted two lofty straight drives for boundaries off Srinath to complete a well deserved century. With the help of his century we were able to win the test match. Unfortunately he was not named ‘man of the match’. This tremendous performance was not adequately highlighted in the local newspapers, which is indeed a pity. I feel justice was not meted out to him in this instance as well.
In spite of many scintillating performances already contributed to our team, I am perturbed and astonished to have read an article written recently by a sports reporter of a reputed newspaper querying whether the selectors ‘will stick to the off colour Sangakkara etc.’ under the caption. ‘Kumar at the Crossroads’? Here too the injustice factor meted out to him is very obvious. However, perusal of proven statistics can make the critics wrong.
Nevertheless, the cricketing public appreciates his marvelous performances and is proud of this talented cricketer who has proved his capabilities beyond any doubt.
Well played Kumar Sangakkara. You are an asset to our National side. Our blessings are with you to further blossom your cricketing talents to make our country a great cricketing nation.
(Sports Editor – eLanka)