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Two of Sri Lanka cricket's greatest batting talents bid their farewell from T20 internationals at the end of the World Cup. Anand Vasu, in Wisden India, encapsulates the impact Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have had in moving cricket forward in the country.
Off the field, the Jayawardene-Sangakkara combine has had bigger battles than anything they faced on the field. The two had a vision for cricket in Sri Lanka, one that Sri Lanka Cricket did not always agree with. At different times they have had to negotiate, plead, insist, argue, cajole, even scheme without malice, to get things done. To use a cringe-worthy word that is so popular with the young of today, the Jayawardene-Sangakkara bromance is one with few parallels in cricket. And Sunday is important for it signifies the first step in the winding down of the careers of two modern greats.
Chris Martin's humility, despite a career spanning 15 years and boasting one shy of 600 first-class wickets, is one of the many things Pat Cole, the manager of Auckland Aces, finds fascinating about New Zealand's third-highest wicket-taker in Tests as he explains in his blog
"Chris has a very perceptive insight. He is incredibly bright. He has just completed a distance learning degree that included diverse subjects like American history. I loved driving around towns in New Zealand listening to his perception of things. Conversation with Chris was exciting because I learnt something. For example, he once told me "I looked around New Zealand, worked out who the best bowlers were, and made sure I was better than them". Chris rarely speaks without thinking. As a senior player, he keeps an eye out and when he feels something needs to be said he says it. Very rarely does he talk to the group; he prefers to talk quietly in the background. When Tommy talks to you, you listen."
In her blog, Lisa Sthalekar recounts her last season in international and domestic cricket and how she arrived at the decision to retire.
Many people have asked me over the past few weeks whether it was a quick, simple decision to call it day. For me, it certainly was neither I often find myself saying to family and friends that I am a realist when it comes to life, and in assessing when to finish up my playing career, my approach to the decision making was no different - be a realist. Simply put, I always reminded myself that at some point everybody has to retire and the magic is in getting the timing right.
So how do you work out when the time is right? I guess the priority for me in this regard has always been to make sure that I would retire when I was at the top of my game, contributing in all facets; not being hidden, whether that be in the field, in terms of when I bowled or where I was in the batting order.
It's the most unlikely spat - a storm in a dinner-plate, if you will - between the most unlikely protagonists. At his retirement press conference on Saturday, VVS Laxman was asked, by the way, whether he'd informed his India captain, MS Dhoni. "I was trying to get in touch with MS, it's difficult to reach him, everyone knows that," he replied with a smile on his face.
A couple of days later the Indian team hit Laxman's hometown of Hyderabad ahead of the New Zealand Test match. Laxman had a few people - including Tendulkar, Gambhir, Sehwag and Zaheer - over for dinner but among those not on the list was the India captain. Sure enough, the issue was raised at the pre-match presser, and Dhoni responded with a straight bat. "People who know me have always complained that I'm someone who's difficult to get hold of. It's not something new, I'm trying to improve but just not improving."
Next question: What did he think of Laxman's retirement? "You need to ask VVS about it."
Finally, the straight one: Were you invited for the dinner party hosted by VVS last night? The answer was short and crisp: "No."