December 7, 2007

Practice makes perfect

The secret of a purple patch: practice, and keeping things simple
34



Magic wand: Sangakkara has scored 921 runs this year, at an average of over 184 © Getty Images

The first Test at Kandy was a special match. Once we heard Sanath Jayasuriya was retiring, it was always going to be an emotional occasion. Also, Muttiah Muralitharan reached 709 wickets, and Chaminda Vaas was playing his 100thTest. There was fantastic spirit in the team, and we had a lot to play for. The match lived up to the occasion. We came back from 45 for 4, came out of a 93-run deficit, and won it at the end, which was just fantastic.

After the match, the media has been asking me a lot of questions about my batting and run-scoring. The scores would say that I am batting much better than I have ever done before, but it hasn't been a sudden change - it has been a gradual build-up.

My strength in batting has always been that I work hard at practice. Under Tom Moody and Trevor Penney, and with John Dyson and Shane Duff before them, I managed to get a good understanding of what my strengths were, and how I could get better. Moody and Penney always pushed us out of our comfort zone, and that made me want to raise my game. Penney would talk to me about practising every single shot I could possibly play so that I could use them in a game and have options. Everything from a forward defensive to a lofted drive to a sweep to a reverse sweep was practised in the years leading up to this patch.

I have talked to people on how to build an innings; we had a psychologist, Sandy Gordon, and sometimes a few insights here and there from people like that make you understand what you can get better at.

My father has always been behind me. He has coached me since I was small. Whenever we have a chat, he has kept me grounded and focused. It has always been a case of going to him if anything bothers me, or having a chat with the coaches who have seen me since I was 13.

When I go in to bat, I try to keep things simple. I try and watch the ball and I try and make sure I am balanced. Those are the two most important things for me. Everything else I have usually covered through practice.

Building my innings starts with the first run, I try and get off the mark any which way I can. It really doesn't matter if it is an edge or a convincing stroke as long as I score my first runs.

The initial part of the innings depends upon the conditions, too: in Sri Lanka and Australia I'd be attacking early on because the wickets are batting-friendly. I like to get in a position where I am mentally comfortable and in control. I don't look at the scoreboard and I don't count my runs.

Batting with the tail is an important aspect of scoring big. The hundreds in Wellington and Hobart were big ones and came while batting with the tail. How you bat in those circumstances depends on the situation. If you have two or three wickets in hand, you may want to shield the tailender for a while, but once you have confidence in him, you bat like you would with a normal batsman. But if you are trying to save a Test, or the conditions are too bowler-friendly, you may want to farm the strike. More often than not, fielding sides try too hard to finish the innings off. That plays into the batsman's hand - he is allowed to just cruise along when the bowlers are too focused on the tailenders.

When I go into bat, I try to keep things simple. I try and watch the ball and I try and make sure I am balanced. Those are the two most important things for me. Everything else I have usually covered through practice

Not having to keep wicket has contributed to my run-making, too. These days I am not so tired when I go into bat; my mind and body are fresh. Also, there is pressure on me to do well with the bat because that's my only discipline: I have always got to deliver the runs. That pressure has worked positively.

When I started off, I was neither a complete wicketkeeper nor a batsman. I probably favoured my batting more than my wicketkeeping. Wicketkeeping has been a bit of a tough job for me, but one I have really enjoyed. Thanks to guys like Ian Healy and Duff, who worked hard on my wicketkeeping, I have managed to bring my keeping up to acceptable standards in international cricket. But it has been a long, tough learning curve for me in both disciplines.

As far as batting goes, I know I definitely need to improve. When you look at Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, they have set the standards in terms of consistently churning out runs. It leaves everyone a message that they have to catch up. I have a long way to go before I get anywhere close to these guys.

But having scored centuries in New Zealand and Australia is special because if you are a batsman, you have to score runs anywhere in the world. To go out of your comfort zone, away from your home ground, and to deliver is what every batsman wants.

The statistics, in terms of the number of runs and number of centuries, are important, but probably only when you are leaving the game. That's when you can look back and say, "Well, I scored 20 or 30 hundreds." Anyone who has scored over 20 hundreds is a very good Test batsman; but if you get to 30 and above, you're better than good.

Contrary to popular belief, the kind of numbers I have put up over the last two seasons haven't really put any extra pressure on me. I like spending time in the middle - myself against the ball. Whatever people say and expect doesn't matter as long as you know you're going about it right.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • wow1234 on December 14, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    Sanga, U r a class act. No doubt that when you retire you would be considered the greatest batsman produced from SL. I hope you do score many more centuries for SL. Your great bond with Mahela has actually made him a better player over the last few years. Mahela who never lacked any talent needed guidence from a genius like you. Thank you for being a true leader in our team. We thought Avavinda & Arjuna could never be replaced. Actually you and Mahela have done better than those two mighty pillars of SL cricket. I see us winning the next WC in Asia with you on the top of your game. One request though tell that clown selector of ours to drop Jehan Mubarak. If we are to make such horrendous decissions in selection SL cricket will have no future. Whats wrong in giving Dili, Kapu, Malinda another chance if we are to give Jehan 10 chances. Once again Sanga well played and well said.

  • UmpireKumar on December 14, 2007, 0:56 GMT

    Hi Kumar, Well done for recent performances , First in 1996 Arjuna and co put Sri Lanka in Cricket world map. Now you and Murli are letting everyone knows where KANDY is ? We Sri Lankans do not like agressive approuch in middle of the field ,well done for your and the teams attitude in the cricket field and winning the spirit of the game award. My second favourites are England but thier last two captains and last two coaches are encouraging aggressivenes which is not good for cricket.

  • Daiya on December 13, 2007, 20:48 GMT

    You have been the corner stone of Sri Lanka's batting over the past few years. It is always a pleasure watching you craft an innings in test cricket. The consistency of your run scoring is amazing. I think that you are as valuable as murali.

    I do however believe that Sri Lankan cricket is heading in the wrong direction. I say this because traditionally we have been able to strangle the opposition with our spinners. It may have been the huge turners of Murali or the odd turners of Dharmasena, but it did work. Today, we are playing 3 fast bowlers in Sri Lanka against teams that play pace brilliantly. I think that the likes of Malinga Bandara may make a big difference to the side. We are becoming more and more dependent on Murali in the spin department. This is not the correct approach. We have to play another spinner along with Murali in Sri Lanka. This will enable the pace bowlers to get a break in between spells, and the runs to be strangled.

  • narenratlk on December 13, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    Hello Kumar, I did'nt have the satisfaction of watching your knock in Hobart, live, but I did catch the highlights, a truly masterful innings. What is most impressive however is your approach to that innings (and most innings) and how your decisions were reflecting perfectly to the changing game situations. I am a business and management consultant and have a passion for understanding decision making under extreme pressure and conditions. Your article above highlights the focus you put on training for every possible situation and circumstance. And trying hard to get the process right everytime. Even the decisions you make on starting your innings are very very interesting. I belive there in lies the reason that you are well on course for becoming a true great in the modern game. Congratulations mate.. you are a breath of fresh air for all of us SLkans. The focus, commitment, Innovation, and hard work put into being ahead of the curve is astounding.

  • InternationalCricketFollower on December 10, 2007, 2:48 GMT

    Ey Sanga. Yeah man you and murali are the only two who support the whole team. Murali the Right and you the Left. The consistency you kept made me like Sri Lanka than any other team. Unfortunately I am worried about our team's future. We were balanced this year because of Jaya,Murali and Vaas. Although they are all getting really old, and if they retire our team is in huge trouble. I think we should get some really good youngsters from school cricket and get them playing early to give them some taste about international cricket. But I have one question for you. Why is Mubarak in the team? There are many players who are waiting in position like Warnapura, Vandort(in ODI's) and others, but the selectors kept on choosing this guy since 2003 world cup. He has not made any thing special for the last 2 years ecept for a 50 against Bangladesh.

  • Ashdown on December 9, 2007, 22:59 GMT

    Hey Kumar, it was a true pleasure to watch your 190 at Hobart. Aussie fans are tired of seeing tourists who can't bat against pace, and I rate that knock as one of the most commanding and breathtaking innings ever played in Australia by a foreign player. Only Sobers or Lara come close for sheer entertainment. Your character and intelligence make you all the more watchable. I hope cricket doesn't lose you to law! Good luck, keep those big scores coming!

  • bottlemani27 on December 9, 2007, 3:39 GMT

    Hi Sanga!! My master. You are probably the best cricketing figure I have ever seen in my life. You have the ability to turn impossibles into possibles. I was expecting a victory at hobart with your splendid batting performance, unfortunately the others who batted with you didn't support you.No offense to you sir. I want to see you as Sri Lanka's Bradman in a few years time. Keep on batting well, take every mistake in your strides and deliver Sri Lanka something worthwhile. Hope to see a double century today at the SSC from you. Good Luck WARRIOR!!!

  • noon21 on December 8, 2007, 9:59 GMT

    Dear Sangakkara,

    As a Sri Lankan-born Australian, I am very proud and grateful for what you have done. I believe you are a real sportsman, with your elegant batting style and the kind humanitarian work you do in your spare time. I know that you play this sport; not for the money, but to show the pride and passion of our wonderful homeland country. Good luck for the future, wish you all the best! Vernon Tissera, Melbourne, Australia

  • eyeopener on December 7, 2007, 23:58 GMT

    Do the right thing while batting, without worrying about the outcome/goal, as you have a control over the former and none on the latter. (this approach can be applied to all walks of life) Each individual performance will reflect on the team effort.

    Sanga's lesson should be the lesson for all SL cricketers. When I saw him in action at Gabba on his previous visit, I told my friends that here was a class act and I was right.

    Patience is a virtue SL cricketers lack and if this noble attributed is cultivated, SLankans will be world champions in all forms. Arjuna, should be considered to coach the team, without depending on foreigners.

    Sunil

  • wips on December 7, 2007, 22:36 GMT

    Sanga is in the top of the world, its all about dedication and practice. The positive thinking made him more comfortable. Go for it Sanga step into top of the ladder and be Jr Bradmon. Show more...

  • wow1234 on December 14, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    Sanga, U r a class act. No doubt that when you retire you would be considered the greatest batsman produced from SL. I hope you do score many more centuries for SL. Your great bond with Mahela has actually made him a better player over the last few years. Mahela who never lacked any talent needed guidence from a genius like you. Thank you for being a true leader in our team. We thought Avavinda & Arjuna could never be replaced. Actually you and Mahela have done better than those two mighty pillars of SL cricket. I see us winning the next WC in Asia with you on the top of your game. One request though tell that clown selector of ours to drop Jehan Mubarak. If we are to make such horrendous decissions in selection SL cricket will have no future. Whats wrong in giving Dili, Kapu, Malinda another chance if we are to give Jehan 10 chances. Once again Sanga well played and well said.

  • UmpireKumar on December 14, 2007, 0:56 GMT

    Hi Kumar, Well done for recent performances , First in 1996 Arjuna and co put Sri Lanka in Cricket world map. Now you and Murli are letting everyone knows where KANDY is ? We Sri Lankans do not like agressive approuch in middle of the field ,well done for your and the teams attitude in the cricket field and winning the spirit of the game award. My second favourites are England but thier last two captains and last two coaches are encouraging aggressivenes which is not good for cricket.

  • Daiya on December 13, 2007, 20:48 GMT

    You have been the corner stone of Sri Lanka's batting over the past few years. It is always a pleasure watching you craft an innings in test cricket. The consistency of your run scoring is amazing. I think that you are as valuable as murali.

    I do however believe that Sri Lankan cricket is heading in the wrong direction. I say this because traditionally we have been able to strangle the opposition with our spinners. It may have been the huge turners of Murali or the odd turners of Dharmasena, but it did work. Today, we are playing 3 fast bowlers in Sri Lanka against teams that play pace brilliantly. I think that the likes of Malinga Bandara may make a big difference to the side. We are becoming more and more dependent on Murali in the spin department. This is not the correct approach. We have to play another spinner along with Murali in Sri Lanka. This will enable the pace bowlers to get a break in between spells, and the runs to be strangled.

  • narenratlk on December 13, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    Hello Kumar, I did'nt have the satisfaction of watching your knock in Hobart, live, but I did catch the highlights, a truly masterful innings. What is most impressive however is your approach to that innings (and most innings) and how your decisions were reflecting perfectly to the changing game situations. I am a business and management consultant and have a passion for understanding decision making under extreme pressure and conditions. Your article above highlights the focus you put on training for every possible situation and circumstance. And trying hard to get the process right everytime. Even the decisions you make on starting your innings are very very interesting. I belive there in lies the reason that you are well on course for becoming a true great in the modern game. Congratulations mate.. you are a breath of fresh air for all of us SLkans. The focus, commitment, Innovation, and hard work put into being ahead of the curve is astounding.

  • InternationalCricketFollower on December 10, 2007, 2:48 GMT

    Ey Sanga. Yeah man you and murali are the only two who support the whole team. Murali the Right and you the Left. The consistency you kept made me like Sri Lanka than any other team. Unfortunately I am worried about our team's future. We were balanced this year because of Jaya,Murali and Vaas. Although they are all getting really old, and if they retire our team is in huge trouble. I think we should get some really good youngsters from school cricket and get them playing early to give them some taste about international cricket. But I have one question for you. Why is Mubarak in the team? There are many players who are waiting in position like Warnapura, Vandort(in ODI's) and others, but the selectors kept on choosing this guy since 2003 world cup. He has not made any thing special for the last 2 years ecept for a 50 against Bangladesh.

  • Ashdown on December 9, 2007, 22:59 GMT

    Hey Kumar, it was a true pleasure to watch your 190 at Hobart. Aussie fans are tired of seeing tourists who can't bat against pace, and I rate that knock as one of the most commanding and breathtaking innings ever played in Australia by a foreign player. Only Sobers or Lara come close for sheer entertainment. Your character and intelligence make you all the more watchable. I hope cricket doesn't lose you to law! Good luck, keep those big scores coming!

  • bottlemani27 on December 9, 2007, 3:39 GMT

    Hi Sanga!! My master. You are probably the best cricketing figure I have ever seen in my life. You have the ability to turn impossibles into possibles. I was expecting a victory at hobart with your splendid batting performance, unfortunately the others who batted with you didn't support you.No offense to you sir. I want to see you as Sri Lanka's Bradman in a few years time. Keep on batting well, take every mistake in your strides and deliver Sri Lanka something worthwhile. Hope to see a double century today at the SSC from you. Good Luck WARRIOR!!!

  • noon21 on December 8, 2007, 9:59 GMT

    Dear Sangakkara,

    As a Sri Lankan-born Australian, I am very proud and grateful for what you have done. I believe you are a real sportsman, with your elegant batting style and the kind humanitarian work you do in your spare time. I know that you play this sport; not for the money, but to show the pride and passion of our wonderful homeland country. Good luck for the future, wish you all the best! Vernon Tissera, Melbourne, Australia

  • eyeopener on December 7, 2007, 23:58 GMT

    Do the right thing while batting, without worrying about the outcome/goal, as you have a control over the former and none on the latter. (this approach can be applied to all walks of life) Each individual performance will reflect on the team effort.

    Sanga's lesson should be the lesson for all SL cricketers. When I saw him in action at Gabba on his previous visit, I told my friends that here was a class act and I was right.

    Patience is a virtue SL cricketers lack and if this noble attributed is cultivated, SLankans will be world champions in all forms. Arjuna, should be considered to coach the team, without depending on foreigners.

    Sunil

  • wips on December 7, 2007, 22:36 GMT

    Sanga is in the top of the world, its all about dedication and practice. The positive thinking made him more comfortable. Go for it Sanga step into top of the ladder and be Jr Bradmon. Show more...

  • zavp on December 7, 2007, 22:29 GMT

    Brilliant stuff Sanga, you know what to do best, you have been brilliant.Best of luck for the future.I beleive you came you saw and you conquered.What talent! and you have made the best use of it.I see you have set new standards not only for other cricketers but also for all Sri lankans, way to go!

  • surya3 on December 7, 2007, 22:17 GMT

    Hi Sangaa - You have been consistently performing now. I watched you carefully at Hobart and you played a great innings against a vivid pace attack of the Aussies. Again now your performance against the Englishmen in Sri Lanka was marvellous. You are an epitome of consistency and I would rate you as one of best batsmen Sri Lanka has ever produced. I loved your article and appreciate what you said about Sachin and Rahul. I wish you all the best in the remaining test matches with England.

  • vsssarma on December 7, 2007, 19:49 GMT

    Sanga has moved up the ladder the hard way. At the moment, I can see only 4 players above him in the all-time list of batsmen. They are obvious choices: Bradman, George Headley, Jack Hobbs and Brian Lara. Sanga is the 5th all time best batsman in the world. He has kept his cool and is not arrogant at his achievements. Sanga, please keep up the good work with the bat. Your team needs it.

  • Thiliebhan on December 7, 2007, 19:18 GMT

    Well Done Sanga! the decent Trinitian from Capital of the Hills, your a proffesional cricketer as well as a lawyer, when you perform for srilanka the result is a WIN. The secret behind your success is that you do your basic right always.We are so proud of you and we know that you will always bring pride and glory to srilanka with your stunning performance. You a guy who is also good teamleader and good advisor to the entire camp in the dressing room and in the field who has a cool head and handles preasure very well and guides the other collegues in the right path. Keep up your success and continue you good form in the future outings as well.

  • RajasH on December 7, 2007, 18:26 GMT

    Sanga keep up your good work and bu the time you retire you will end up as the greatest batsman ever. Sri Lanka will end up with the greatest batsman and greatest bowler in the history of test cricket.

    Critics will of course analyse and try to down grade your performance as that of Murali.

    Your intellectual command of English and oratory compliments your batting

  • -Hilal- on December 7, 2007, 18:03 GMT

    Congratulations on reaching the No1 spot in the ICC rankings. You bat well with the tail; your knocks in the southern hemisphere and the first innings in Kandy were all with the lower order and you batted with little or no pressure. I wonder if this is also a crucial factor in your success.

    The right state of mind is key to batting consistency. Do you feel no pressure when batting with the tail as the 'worst case scenario' has passed?

    You have done all the hard work whatever you achieve here on in will be sheer greatness. Enjoy your cricket as much as the work you put into it. - Hilal

  • karthiklesnar on December 7, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    Nice article about Sangakkara.He is a complete cricketer.I hope he can play all the shots in cricket book...Now he has reached the top of the world surpassing Punter in ICC Test Batsmen ranking...He has a lot of cricket left with him...I hope he would break the record of Zaheer Abbas for highest ave in a calendar year if he plays the 2nd $ 3rd test well(I hope he will do)...I wish him all the best for his future...

  • deshkanna on December 7, 2007, 14:39 GMT

    Nice article Sanga!. Its inspiring!! .. All the best to become a legend. Keep scoring runs like the century you scored in Australia recently.

  • nuwank on December 7, 2007, 14:29 GMT

    Absolutely Brilliant Sanga. You provide a dimension to the game the way perhaps no international player had ever done before in cricket. I believe there are enough people around now who are not just content cheering your centuries but looking forward for your next article, interview.

  • ruwanrajapakse on December 7, 2007, 14:22 GMT

    Dear Sangakkara

    My advice to you is do not accept the captaincy if given.

    Remember what happened to Lara and Tendulkar and may be even Aravinda.

    Concentrate on batting.

    Thank you

  • aybee on December 7, 2007, 14:01 GMT

    very well written article, good to see a young batsman in form, and showing the maturity in atributing it to practise and hard work. a comment from Nirmal_S_K, chucking a theory around, that his keeping to murali has improved his batting. i think that it must improve your reading of the ball and bowlers. why do you think that Gilly is such a good batsman, he kept to warne for all those years, he must have improved his reading of the ball etc standing up to the stumps all them years. and everyone wonders how come he see's the ball like a watermelon.

  • pradstarrocks on December 7, 2007, 13:11 GMT

    Sanga well played and well written. Just to add that your tennis skills to assisted you in getting your eye in. Also i feel that your on par with hayden and co. but what actually makes them special is patience which i believe you have when it comes to test cricket but not ODIs. Marvan in a oneday match is a nightmare when he starts of but when he actually gets out his strike rate is 70+. I feel you have made your mark in test cricket you just need to keep going which will in time to come get you ahead of ponting. But in a oneday match you are just restless when you are out of form. i guess you need to work on that aspect. All the best and we are always behind you.

  • dineshka on December 7, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    Hey sanga, we are truly proud of you,specially as Trinitians.You have been a true ambassador for our college and as well as to Sri Lankan cricket.Your recent batting form is brilliant.we hope that you can carry that form for the next couple of years.In my opinion you're one of the best batsmen the world has seen in the recent years.The century against ausies was one of the best that we have ever seen.keep producing those centuries.Good luck bro!!!

  • rushy on December 7, 2007, 12:38 GMT

    Nice article, as usual, Mr. Sangakkara. However, your modesty and humbleness show when you say you have a long way to go to reach the standards of Ponting, Hayden, Tendulkar, et al. You sure are equal or greater than them Sir. Knowing Trinitians well (all four of my so0ns were from Trinity) its no surprise. Please keep up the good work and let's see some more of them (30 hundreds may be?).

  • crickstats on December 7, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    I don't think players feel that they are a legend when they are playing the game. I think Sanga is one in the making. I first saw him belting a 150 odd in a match they showed on TV, I can't remember whether it was a school match or a Sri Lanka A match. It is heartening to see him score those runs in test level in places like Australia and New Zealand. He is the highest ranked Asian in ICC World Ratings of all time now, I hope he will whack another double century and even more and become No.1 of all time. I think he has the credentials he just needs patient and also hope he doesn't abuse his excellent form. Well done, Keep it up Sanga

  • Nirmal_S_K on December 7, 2007, 11:32 GMT

    Kudos for the performances, Sanga. It\'s more than nice to know that a Sri Lankan duo tops the charts in the batting and bowling lists. Very well written Blog too.

    I have a small theory which I think might be a factor in the improvement of your performances, though. It might not be accurate, but I thought I\'d share it nevertheless. I hope you find it insightful, entertaining, or both, and I hope you don\'t mind being referred to in the third person.

    This is called the theory of how Murali helped Sanga\'s Batting.

    Kumar Sangakkara, when he started out, he was not the best wicketkeeper in the world, but improved by leaps and bounds during the time that he kept wicket. This was due to the fact that he had to keep wicket against the best off-spinner the world has produced, Muralitharan. This helped him improve his eye, and helped him watch the ball far better than any other wicketkeeper in the world. Of course, it takes a special kind of talent to take one aspect of your game and port it to another, and we know that you are not short of talent.

    So your success, and your #1 rank in the batting list was due to the guy who tops the other list. How is that for a theory?

  • Scottocsnz on December 7, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    Nice Post Sanga, Ive always wanted to see how you would do a season without the added pressure of keeping and Im glad to see such beautiful innings coming through. With a lot of the greats coming up to retirement soon its good to see theres going to be someone we can follow for a few more years yet!

  • Philip_Gnana on December 7, 2007, 10:36 GMT

    A very down to earth guy not wanting to take any credit away from the rest. Humility is the bedrock of the strong. Nice piece here by Sanga (the great).

    Sanga has giving credit to all those who have "nursed" you. Well done. I have to agree with the previous comments (SexyDT). Second only to Ponting at this stage I should say. But, in sporting terms top of the league. A gentleman at the gentlemen's game. No need for umpires to give you out for decisions involving the bat. Sanga, truely a great sportsman.

    I do miss those quips from behind the stumps. Any chance of those "quirky" banter from the slips cordon or the cover region?

    At the present moment in time the benchmark for all batsmen. May your success continue Sanga in bringing us more of what you can give us to applaud, appreciate and marvel at your batting.

    It will be a tough job for people to dislike you. Top man.

    Philip Gnana-Muttu, Surrey UK

  • yakshaya on December 7, 2007, 10:27 GMT

    Congrats Sanga on your cricket on and off the field. one small thing which I have noticed where you can improve is the hits straight down the ground. It is a thing which you can try to do more often in one day version. Try it and see the difference. All the best for your future.

  • dilan_f on December 7, 2007, 9:54 GMT

    I agree with SexyDT, I reckon you're about as good as Kallis and Dravid. I was really happy with the character the team showed as you said. Often we've just collapsed after being under pressure, like in the England ODIs and the Gabba test. Really good article Sanga... keep the runs flowing!

    Wish I could bat like you do... got any tips? I'm young and I need a confidence boost... cricinfo msg me or something if there's any such thing...

    Good luck in the next test

  • LANKAN_SEAMERRR on December 7, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    Nice article providing an awesome insight into the effort that goes into the making of a truly successful batsman. Yes. I reckon you are already at an equal level with batsmen like Matthew Hayden & Rahul Dravid. You will easily surpass Ricky Ponting if you continue with your consistency, Sanga. Your ability to succeeded in a number of different situations is an added asset.

  • Hoggy27 on December 7, 2007, 9:15 GMT

    Sangakkara is a bloody legend, especially after that unlucky dismissal at Hobart after some awesome batting.

  • Ellis on December 7, 2007, 8:41 GMT

    As usual, a very well balanced and thoughtful piece. Sangakkara is so right in saying that the time to judge is at the end of a career. Purple patches come and go. He is right to treat with respect the records of his conteporaries. In the end, class tells. He has plenty of it in more ways than one. A very good role model of how a cricketer should play, speak and behave. May his purple patch long continue!

  • CricketPissek on December 7, 2007, 6:14 GMT

    nice article Sanga. I think you're putting yourself down by saying you have a long way to go to catch up with Matty Hayden though. You're at least on equal terms with both him and Kallis in my humble opinion. You're going to be an all time great once you retire, rest assured. In the meantime keep contributing to the legend! Looking forward to many many more big hundreds. Best Regards

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  • CricketPissek on December 7, 2007, 6:14 GMT

    nice article Sanga. I think you're putting yourself down by saying you have a long way to go to catch up with Matty Hayden though. You're at least on equal terms with both him and Kallis in my humble opinion. You're going to be an all time great once you retire, rest assured. In the meantime keep contributing to the legend! Looking forward to many many more big hundreds. Best Regards

  • Ellis on December 7, 2007, 8:41 GMT

    As usual, a very well balanced and thoughtful piece. Sangakkara is so right in saying that the time to judge is at the end of a career. Purple patches come and go. He is right to treat with respect the records of his conteporaries. In the end, class tells. He has plenty of it in more ways than one. A very good role model of how a cricketer should play, speak and behave. May his purple patch long continue!

  • Hoggy27 on December 7, 2007, 9:15 GMT

    Sangakkara is a bloody legend, especially after that unlucky dismissal at Hobart after some awesome batting.

  • LANKAN_SEAMERRR on December 7, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    Nice article providing an awesome insight into the effort that goes into the making of a truly successful batsman. Yes. I reckon you are already at an equal level with batsmen like Matthew Hayden & Rahul Dravid. You will easily surpass Ricky Ponting if you continue with your consistency, Sanga. Your ability to succeeded in a number of different situations is an added asset.

  • dilan_f on December 7, 2007, 9:54 GMT

    I agree with SexyDT, I reckon you're about as good as Kallis and Dravid. I was really happy with the character the team showed as you said. Often we've just collapsed after being under pressure, like in the England ODIs and the Gabba test. Really good article Sanga... keep the runs flowing!

    Wish I could bat like you do... got any tips? I'm young and I need a confidence boost... cricinfo msg me or something if there's any such thing...

    Good luck in the next test

  • yakshaya on December 7, 2007, 10:27 GMT

    Congrats Sanga on your cricket on and off the field. one small thing which I have noticed where you can improve is the hits straight down the ground. It is a thing which you can try to do more often in one day version. Try it and see the difference. All the best for your future.

  • Philip_Gnana on December 7, 2007, 10:36 GMT

    A very down to earth guy not wanting to take any credit away from the rest. Humility is the bedrock of the strong. Nice piece here by Sanga (the great).

    Sanga has giving credit to all those who have "nursed" you. Well done. I have to agree with the previous comments (SexyDT). Second only to Ponting at this stage I should say. But, in sporting terms top of the league. A gentleman at the gentlemen's game. No need for umpires to give you out for decisions involving the bat. Sanga, truely a great sportsman.

    I do miss those quips from behind the stumps. Any chance of those "quirky" banter from the slips cordon or the cover region?

    At the present moment in time the benchmark for all batsmen. May your success continue Sanga in bringing us more of what you can give us to applaud, appreciate and marvel at your batting.

    It will be a tough job for people to dislike you. Top man.

    Philip Gnana-Muttu, Surrey UK

  • Scottocsnz on December 7, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    Nice Post Sanga, Ive always wanted to see how you would do a season without the added pressure of keeping and Im glad to see such beautiful innings coming through. With a lot of the greats coming up to retirement soon its good to see theres going to be someone we can follow for a few more years yet!

  • Nirmal_S_K on December 7, 2007, 11:32 GMT

    Kudos for the performances, Sanga. It\'s more than nice to know that a Sri Lankan duo tops the charts in the batting and bowling lists. Very well written Blog too.

    I have a small theory which I think might be a factor in the improvement of your performances, though. It might not be accurate, but I thought I\'d share it nevertheless. I hope you find it insightful, entertaining, or both, and I hope you don\'t mind being referred to in the third person.

    This is called the theory of how Murali helped Sanga\'s Batting.

    Kumar Sangakkara, when he started out, he was not the best wicketkeeper in the world, but improved by leaps and bounds during the time that he kept wicket. This was due to the fact that he had to keep wicket against the best off-spinner the world has produced, Muralitharan. This helped him improve his eye, and helped him watch the ball far better than any other wicketkeeper in the world. Of course, it takes a special kind of talent to take one aspect of your game and port it to another, and we know that you are not short of talent.

    So your success, and your #1 rank in the batting list was due to the guy who tops the other list. How is that for a theory?

  • crickstats on December 7, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    I don't think players feel that they are a legend when they are playing the game. I think Sanga is one in the making. I first saw him belting a 150 odd in a match they showed on TV, I can't remember whether it was a school match or a Sri Lanka A match. It is heartening to see him score those runs in test level in places like Australia and New Zealand. He is the highest ranked Asian in ICC World Ratings of all time now, I hope he will whack another double century and even more and become No.1 of all time. I think he has the credentials he just needs patient and also hope he doesn't abuse his excellent form. Well done, Keep it up Sanga