Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 3rd day August 8, 2014

A celebration of Sri Lanka's favourite sons

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are both undisputed legends of the game. Their standing in Sri Lanka, however, goes far deeper than that
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Dravid: Sangakkara has no apparent weakness

Colombo is the home of Sri Lankan cricket, but of its three Test venues, none is as quintessentially Sri Lankan as the ground 100 kilometres to the south, in Galle.

To the east of the ground, a white Buddhist stupa hovers on a 50-metre cliff above a turquoise stretch of the Indian Ocean. One-hundred metres to the northwest, a kovil sends up its gopura in gold, amid the clunks and groans of deep-red government buses.

Two church towers - one white and one yellow - peer out above the ramparts of the fort, which Portuguese invaders had begun, the Dutch had made colossal, and the English fine-tuned. The mosque is out of view of the cricket, but on Friday afternoons, the sea breeze picks up its melody from the southern corner of the fort and scatters it over the ground.

The town itself, like so many on the island, is loosely organised chaos, filled with the sound of street vendors and three-wheelers, and the smell of fruits from the land and teeming sea.

On the field on day three, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene scripted another page in their own hallowed canon. The crowd swelled when news of their union spread through the town. Teachers brought their students to look in from the top of the fort. It might have seemed like an idle break just before the holidays, but maybe the teachers would say it was a chance to witness history. Sri Lanka's two favourite sons may never bat together in Tests again.

Politicians have images planted all over the country. The president has so many billboards. Sri Lankans see him more of him than their own families, but not a soul in the parliament could ever pretend to command the nation's affections like "Sanga" and "Mahela" do.

The island does not do human deification. There are no shrines to Jayawardene. No poojas for Sangakkara. They are not idols to worship, but humans to delight in. From the late cuts and cover drives on the field, to their grace and intelligence off it, they draw admiration rather than adulation; they are respected more than revered.

The president has so many billboards. Sri Lankans see him more of him than their own families, but not a soul in the parliament could ever pretend to command the nation's affections like "Sanga" and "Mahela" do

Just last week, one of the country's leading apparel manufacturers brought the pair on board, not as ambassadors of their brand or flesh-and-blood mannequins for their wares, but as motivators for their work force. Over the next few months, Sangakkara and Jayawardene will speak at factories across the country, not just because they may have something worthwhile to share, but because of the values and standards they publicly uphold.

Geoff Marsh once said "you can hear a pin drop when Mahela speaks in the dressing room", but the same is true for either man, at any place in the country.

It helps, that like the ground in Galle, Jayawardene and Sangakkara are irrepressibly Sri Lankan. Jayawardene is free-spirited, impetuous, resourceful and innovative. Serene, yet up for a fight, whether with bat and ball, or with words. There are flaws too, as detractors will shout, pointing at his record outside Asia, but every innings, however brief or long, is never without joy.

If Jayawardene embodies what there is to love about Sri Lanka, Sangakkara is what the island aspires to be. He is polished, practiced and even-handed. Never lacking for skill or mettle, but always thinking, improving and reflecting.

Sangakkara's Cowdrey Speech is still quoted in one newspaper or another on a monthly basis. His interviews spread on social media like wildfire as every sentence he speaks is absorbed by cricket fans and sports agnostics alike.

Both players have also repeated they would never consider a life in politics. They are clearly cut out to be leaders, and though the public sees this, they are grateful Jayawardene and Sangakkara will never tread down that road. Cerebral, well-intentioned men have been swallowed up by Sri Lanka's political cesspool before. If Mahela and Sanga are untarnished by high office, the public will feel they never have to fall out of love.

On Friday at Galle, another of those inescapable elements of Sri Lankan life put an abrupt end to the adoring crowd's enjoyment. But a few minutes before the heavy rains came, Sangakkara had put his stand with Jayawardene into triple figures for the 18th time. They had moved beyond Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes to sit second on the all-time list.

On the fort, a boy of no more than nine had just heard his teacher call for the class to leave. Before he turned away, he waved farewell to the two men walking off the pitch, more than a hundred metres away, and shouted, "bye Sanga, bye Mahela," as loud as he could.

Around the world, Jayawardene and Sangakkara are appreciated for their style, their skill and their statistics. On this island, they are so much more.

They are heroes. They are friends. They are countrymen.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 9, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    I enjoy reading articles by Andrew as much as I enjoy watching Mahela playing cricket. We need more and more Mahelas, Sangas and Andrews to lift Sri Lankan cricket.

  • Romski on August 11, 2014, 13:07 GMT

    Probably the best journalist on Cricinfo. Congrats Andrew you do justice to the current world number ONE & Lankan legend Mahela. Cricket is a science today unlike the Grace & Bradman eras.

  • on August 9, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    One of the best articles written in Cricinfo. Real and true enthusiasm of cricket loving nation. Sanga and Mahela showed their talent today. Sanga in class 1 of cricket world.

  • on August 9, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    Sangakkara, simply humble character, is simply the master batsman in the modern day cricket.

  • on August 9, 2014, 12:56 GMT

    Brilliant writing that captures the essence of Sri Lankan cricket.

  • Paul2005 on August 9, 2014, 11:07 GMT

    Let us just enjoy Sanga's sunlime cricket for what it I is no point comparing it with Sachin or Lara. Sanga is once a generation cricketer from Sri Lanka a supreme artist bar none. He would have scored runs against any attack in history incl the Great West Indian and Pakistani quicks. It is nt Sanga's fault they were not around during his playing days

  • sandy_bangalore on August 9, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    As Indias, we salute these two legends. In fact both these guys are extremely popular in India and have many fans amongst us, due to the reasons mentioned in the article. World cricket will miss these two once they retire!

  • Selfishkar on August 9, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    Sangakkara has won more man of the matches than Tendulkar even though he played 50 less tests

  • SLisBestinEarth on August 9, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    Geoff Marsh & Dev whatmore agreed Sanga is best attacking batsmen they had seen & even far better than Viv. Sanga would have shine better had he played in 1970& 80's WIndies bowlers Garner,Holding,Marshall,Robert ,Lillie,Thomson&& Bib wills,Sydney barnes.. No player from 2000 milllenium could get hold of Sanga's weekness. Once in generation player,Sanga sir- You are true legend of this game called cricket.

  • SLisBestinEarth on August 9, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    Sanga has al cricket book shots & a best tactician to play cricket after 2000's. A most wanted player IPL, BBL,CPL & County cricket; but he rejected many offers(money) and showing his passion to play for Sri lanka.

  • on August 9, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    I enjoy reading articles by Andrew as much as I enjoy watching Mahela playing cricket. We need more and more Mahelas, Sangas and Andrews to lift Sri Lankan cricket.

  • Romski on August 11, 2014, 13:07 GMT

    Probably the best journalist on Cricinfo. Congrats Andrew you do justice to the current world number ONE & Lankan legend Mahela. Cricket is a science today unlike the Grace & Bradman eras.

  • on August 9, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    One of the best articles written in Cricinfo. Real and true enthusiasm of cricket loving nation. Sanga and Mahela showed their talent today. Sanga in class 1 of cricket world.

  • on August 9, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    Sangakkara, simply humble character, is simply the master batsman in the modern day cricket.

  • on August 9, 2014, 12:56 GMT

    Brilliant writing that captures the essence of Sri Lankan cricket.

  • Paul2005 on August 9, 2014, 11:07 GMT

    Let us just enjoy Sanga's sunlime cricket for what it I is no point comparing it with Sachin or Lara. Sanga is once a generation cricketer from Sri Lanka a supreme artist bar none. He would have scored runs against any attack in history incl the Great West Indian and Pakistani quicks. It is nt Sanga's fault they were not around during his playing days

  • sandy_bangalore on August 9, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    As Indias, we salute these two legends. In fact both these guys are extremely popular in India and have many fans amongst us, due to the reasons mentioned in the article. World cricket will miss these two once they retire!

  • Selfishkar on August 9, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    Sangakkara has won more man of the matches than Tendulkar even though he played 50 less tests

  • SLisBestinEarth on August 9, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    Geoff Marsh & Dev whatmore agreed Sanga is best attacking batsmen they had seen & even far better than Viv. Sanga would have shine better had he played in 1970& 80's WIndies bowlers Garner,Holding,Marshall,Robert ,Lillie,Thomson&& Bib wills,Sydney barnes.. No player from 2000 milllenium could get hold of Sanga's weekness. Once in generation player,Sanga sir- You are true legend of this game called cricket.

  • SLisBestinEarth on August 9, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    Sanga has al cricket book shots & a best tactician to play cricket after 2000's. A most wanted player IPL, BBL,CPL & County cricket; but he rejected many offers(money) and showing his passion to play for Sri lanka.

  • SLisBestinEarth on August 9, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    SAnga , Mahe, Mathews & Herath are legends of this game. (Sorry Dilli) If Sanga would have born in Eng or Australia, he would be portrayed as Father of Cricket. Sanga is far more than Bradman.Bradman batted only in Eng & Australia. But our son of soil shined in SAF, Eng, Newzeland , Pakistan, WestIndies & India. Swing,Seam, Fast, Bouncy, Spin - He mastered in all bowling attacks. He batted against Steyn, Anderson, Morkels, Mitchell, Warne, Mcgrath, Lee ,Wasim ,Waqar and handled them very easily..

  • on August 9, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    A very special thanks for Andrew to put up our thoughts in this article but I believe these legends are just not bounded with words...Anyone who loves SPORTS can understand the consistency & class.....they're just unmatched in anywhere in the world....I salute to them & grateful that I'm watching them playing live not recorded....

  • Nuwan_Lorensuhewa on August 9, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    Extraordinary article Andrew ! Tribute to the heroes. Many thanks to Andrew for putting up an article which could be read without stopping to breathe as a loyal Sri Lankan.

  • on August 9, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    OH! Mahee, you are one of the most lovely cricketers of the 1990s still remaining in the game. Definitely, now, as you are about to go, we know it will create a void in the game itself and particularly in Sri Lankan team. Let the time fill it...

    And Sangaa, if you continue like this for another three years, we say that you will definitely score more than 14000 probably 15000 and become 2nd highest run getter after our Sachin. Our dear Sangaa, please do this for us. We know you can. If sachin can play at 40 you too can. This is our request to you. Hoping you to achieve this...

  • ygkd on August 9, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    Mahela, Sanga, Angelo, Herath, Younis, Junaid, Ajmal - all in the one Test and no tv coverage at all in Australia for us here to see any of it!

  • lancia71 on August 9, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Sanga is a legend no doubt but to bracket him with Lara, Tendulkar and Richards will not be right in my opinion for the simple fact, Sanga never really dominated attacks at any time of his career so far. Lara did that consistently and Tendulkar till about mid 2000. That doesn't take anything ever from Sanga and great thing about him is that despite not blessed with talent he has achieved all these with sheer hard work. I think on pure batsmanship wise, Aravinda is still ahead of Sanga and if not for his prolong mad max years, would be a legend in the class of Tendulkar and Lara, a sri lankan fan here

  • on August 9, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    What a great article Andrew. almost brought tears to my eyes.

  • Sexysteven on August 9, 2014, 2:51 GMT

    Yea Sri Lanka will miss Mahela a lot but all good things have to end at some point I guess hope Mahela is getting agood send off very appropriate Mahela and sang in another partnership let's hope they bat a lot together this series cos that would be appropriate cos those two are as close as a married couple the positive thing about this is that the Sri Lankans will appreciate sanga more now cos they know he's prob got acouple of years left at the most so people should want to see him bat while they can

  • Brownly on August 9, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    My two favourite cricketers after Mike Hussey.

  • Jeew on August 9, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    Sachin classy with power batting, Lara-divine full and Sanga elegance. The ease that Sanga possess in his batting would be missing in other two. Sanga misses the muscularity others possess. So, each are differs from others and each other's. Cricket pundits and commentators already claims Sanga as one of the modern greats. So, Sri Lankans no need to argue abt Sanga's greatness. As usual, Indians will bother comparing him with their cricketers for life long. Other nations will give the credits which Sanga claimed for.

    @ kartheek, "if you add those matches his stats will be normal", if you means the average of 59+ is a normal avg, then we can understand about your cricket brains.

  • Sunil_Syd on August 9, 2014, 1:31 GMT

    Nice story Andrew. Almost brought a tear to my eye.

  • Rizwanodayar on August 9, 2014, 0:28 GMT

    Mahala is no only contributed to SriLanka with his batting and fielding but also with his inspiration and and tactical leadership, Srilankan team will only feel his loss when he is no more in the field.

  • on August 8, 2014, 23:34 GMT

    Two extraordinary legends. The fact that neither wanted to remain captain was a clue that neither will want to go into politics. I hope Sri Lanka can astutely identify and prepare a new generation of young batting talent to take over from these two immortals.

  • gahapanmachan on August 8, 2014, 22:07 GMT

    If SL batters, particularly Sanga, get the exposure & time playing 4/5 tests in foreign patches like other greats, they would be far better than any of them. Only Lara can be compared to Sanga in my mind.

  • DnJsh on August 8, 2014, 21:29 GMT

    Forget about statistics and trying to force your idea of who's the better batsman in country X with Y centuries. Sangakkara and Mahela have helped their country in more ways than just playing cricket, they are symbols of strength and huge motivators for the people of Sri Lanka. Perhaps it would be hard to understand if you're not from the country, but please show due respect and stop bickering over statistics. This applies to both supporters and detractors: live and let live.

  • chawir on August 8, 2014, 21:11 GMT

    PURE GOLD! This is the essence of the SL feelings towards them. "If Jayawardene embodies what there is to love about Sri Lanka, Sangakkara is what the island aspires to be. He is polished, practiced and even-handed. Never lacking for skill or mettle, but always thinking, improving and reflecting." Once again Andrew, you have written a little gem.

    Unfortunately, many of the comments argue about statistics and who is the greatest - this is very subjective and has no value in this forum because it is not what your article is trying to bring to life.

  • K_S_Kartheek on August 8, 2014, 20:14 GMT

    People now a days only see stats and come to a conclusion. Lara just had average of 52 still he is All Time Best Player. But stats claim that many batsman were better than him which is false. Same is the case with Vin Richards just had average of 50 . But still some cricket analysts place him in discussion while answering who is best batsman ........ Stats are misleading sometimes.

  • K_S_Kartheek on August 8, 2014, 20:05 GMT

    @rizwan1981 ..........sachin played tests against Pakistan whose bowling attack comprises Wasim ,Imran ,Waqar, Saqlain and still managed to have average of 40 against them ........When Sanga played Pakistan there were no Wasim ,Imran,Waqar(only 1 match) ,Saqlain and Pakistan bowling became weak and he began to pile runs against them. And talking about weakness Sachin has no apparent weakness ........averages above 40 in all countries (only played to do so) . Sanga has more weakness than Sachin he averages below 40 in 3 countries and just above 40 in England. Also Sanga's main weakness is outside Subcontinent with average of 43 (Zimbabwe excluded)

  • K_S_Kartheek on August 8, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    @hiran005.............. When Sanga kept the wickets he played at no.3 and a player coming at no.3 will be a specialist batsman which means that even when sanga kept wickets his role as batsman was specialist batsman and I dont like to consider only matches where he did not keep wickets. Even as Wicket keeper batsman Sanga's role was specialist batsman in the side and he played at no.3 and kept wickets for almost 50 matches and if you add those matches his stats will be normal

  • on August 8, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    Sachin scores his most centuries in his home turfs , where even a ashwin gets a century in his maidan test , sure sanga is not the best than the master blaster , that's not what I m brothered about my concern is those Indian claiming him to be even inferior than shewang or even pujara , sanga is the most underrated best man ever !!!!

  • HailFellowWellMet on August 8, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    +1 for 6pack's comment. Also, elegant piece Andrew.

  • rizwan1981 on August 8, 2014, 19:03 GMT

    K_S_Kartheek

    Sangakkara's average in Australia is 60 whereas Tendulkar's is 53.Also , Sachin has 8 centuries against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

    Tendulkar scored only 2 centuries against India's toughest opponents Pakistan in 18 Matches and averages in the low forties.

    Every great player has weaknesses . Sangakkara is STATISTICALLY superior to Tendulkar and that is a fact.

  • neo-galactico on August 8, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    I'm probably going to have a lot of chakra hurled @ me for saying this... Mahela and Sanga are top-class batsmen and undoubtedly Sri Lankan greats but for mine not all time greats of the modern era. I rate Mahela and Sanga along with Smith, Inzi, Yousuf, Kp and perhaps even Dravid as a notch under ATG. I'm sure many will agree with me about Mahela but about Sanga many will disagree, passionately so. Statistically Sanga is great but statistics aside he leaves me feeling hollow like he lacks the "je ne sais quoi" of great players. Sure he has a beautiful cover drive but even that comes across as mechanical somewhat. He's in the form of his life right now but I still can't warm up to him. And that both he and Mahela have played so many matches @ home and in the subcontinent (which isn't their fault) probably contributes too.

  • on August 8, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    Sanga masterclass !! His ratio of 100's per games played outside sub continent is as good as anyone, its just that SL do not get big test tours as much. That's not his fault, but when he gets the chance he scores anywhere on any pitch vs Pace or Spin. Truly a Legend ! As a batsman Sanga averages 75+. Says it all ! Period

  • hiran005 on August 8, 2014, 18:12 GMT

    @K_S_Kartheek : It's not only the centuries that you need to take into account. Sachin has played way more matches than Kumar against Australia. If you compare the averages, there's not much difference. and especially if you consider the record of Kumar as a pure batsmen his average is better than Sachin. I'm not ctrying to say Kumar is better than Sachin because of that. Sachin is one of the all time greats. But the comparison you took to take Kumar out of that league is baseless. Just see his record as a pure batsman. That'll make you realize what I'm talking about. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/50710.html?class=1;filter=advanced;keeper=0;orderby=default;template=results;type=batting

  • K_S_Kartheek on August 8, 2014, 17:35 GMT

    @Lassie.Perera.......Are you kidding? Sanga is never a contender for best batsman since Bradman. The real contenders would be Lara ,Richards ,Sobers ,Sachin. Sanga with his one century against top team like Australia and poor overseas average will be considered as best but not all time best since bradman Stats dont give complete analysis , Stats only tell part of a story. Sanga has always taken the merry of weaker teams with 20% of his runs coming against minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe Lara one of greatest batsman has 9 centuries against Australia Richards one of the greatest has 8 centuries against England (best team then) Gavaskar one of finest has 9 centuries against West Indies(best team then) Sachin one of greatest has 11 hundreds against Australia Sobers All Time Greatest has 11 centuries against England (best team then) How wrong would it be to place Sanga with only 1 century against Australia.......

  • on August 8, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    Wonderful exponents of batting in the modern era.

  • on August 8, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    excellent article Andrew.... poetic and touching... it reveals lot about this 2 legends how SriLankan public think of them.

  • on August 8, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    Is jayawardhane going to reture after the series with Pakistan. Then its really a bad day for the entire cricketing world. Sanga and Mahela are the born talented people and though I am an Indian, I admire their skills and companionship and great ethics shown on and off the cricket field

  • 6pack on August 8, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    Andrew... prolific yet again. The political unrest of the 70's and 80's have driven so many Sri Lankan's away from the country - but reading pieces such as these always draws one back .. While the country has produced many political tyrants... it has doubtless also produced some remarkable men that Sri Lanka can be proud about. These are just two such gentlemen.

  • Lassie.Perera on August 8, 2014, 16:14 GMT

    Now it's a matter of time to be crowned Sanga as the world's best batsman after Sir Bradman. Statistically Sachin is still up there, but more games mean Sanga will catch it up. Without keeping glows on, his numbers are unbelievable.

  • cjchanaka on August 8, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    Excellent article andrew,yes both are pure legends.'Sri Lanka's two favourite sons may never bat together in Tests again' can't tolerate this.............

  • cjchanaka on August 8, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    Excellent article andrew,yes both are pure legends.'Sri Lanka's two favourite sons may never bat together in Tests again' can't tolerate this.............

  • Lassie.Perera on August 8, 2014, 16:14 GMT

    Now it's a matter of time to be crowned Sanga as the world's best batsman after Sir Bradman. Statistically Sachin is still up there, but more games mean Sanga will catch it up. Without keeping glows on, his numbers are unbelievable.

  • 6pack on August 8, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    Andrew... prolific yet again. The political unrest of the 70's and 80's have driven so many Sri Lankan's away from the country - but reading pieces such as these always draws one back .. While the country has produced many political tyrants... it has doubtless also produced some remarkable men that Sri Lanka can be proud about. These are just two such gentlemen.

  • on August 8, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    Is jayawardhane going to reture after the series with Pakistan. Then its really a bad day for the entire cricketing world. Sanga and Mahela are the born talented people and though I am an Indian, I admire their skills and companionship and great ethics shown on and off the cricket field

  • on August 8, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    excellent article Andrew.... poetic and touching... it reveals lot about this 2 legends how SriLankan public think of them.

  • on August 8, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    Wonderful exponents of batting in the modern era.

  • K_S_Kartheek on August 8, 2014, 17:35 GMT

    @Lassie.Perera.......Are you kidding? Sanga is never a contender for best batsman since Bradman. The real contenders would be Lara ,Richards ,Sobers ,Sachin. Sanga with his one century against top team like Australia and poor overseas average will be considered as best but not all time best since bradman Stats dont give complete analysis , Stats only tell part of a story. Sanga has always taken the merry of weaker teams with 20% of his runs coming against minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe Lara one of greatest batsman has 9 centuries against Australia Richards one of the greatest has 8 centuries against England (best team then) Gavaskar one of finest has 9 centuries against West Indies(best team then) Sachin one of greatest has 11 hundreds against Australia Sobers All Time Greatest has 11 centuries against England (best team then) How wrong would it be to place Sanga with only 1 century against Australia.......

  • hiran005 on August 8, 2014, 18:12 GMT

    @K_S_Kartheek : It's not only the centuries that you need to take into account. Sachin has played way more matches than Kumar against Australia. If you compare the averages, there's not much difference. and especially if you consider the record of Kumar as a pure batsmen his average is better than Sachin. I'm not ctrying to say Kumar is better than Sachin because of that. Sachin is one of the all time greats. But the comparison you took to take Kumar out of that league is baseless. Just see his record as a pure batsman. That'll make you realize what I'm talking about. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/50710.html?class=1;filter=advanced;keeper=0;orderby=default;template=results;type=batting

  • on August 8, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    Sanga masterclass !! His ratio of 100's per games played outside sub continent is as good as anyone, its just that SL do not get big test tours as much. That's not his fault, but when he gets the chance he scores anywhere on any pitch vs Pace or Spin. Truly a Legend ! As a batsman Sanga averages 75+. Says it all ! Period

  • neo-galactico on August 8, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    I'm probably going to have a lot of chakra hurled @ me for saying this... Mahela and Sanga are top-class batsmen and undoubtedly Sri Lankan greats but for mine not all time greats of the modern era. I rate Mahela and Sanga along with Smith, Inzi, Yousuf, Kp and perhaps even Dravid as a notch under ATG. I'm sure many will agree with me about Mahela but about Sanga many will disagree, passionately so. Statistically Sanga is great but statistics aside he leaves me feeling hollow like he lacks the "je ne sais quoi" of great players. Sure he has a beautiful cover drive but even that comes across as mechanical somewhat. He's in the form of his life right now but I still can't warm up to him. And that both he and Mahela have played so many matches @ home and in the subcontinent (which isn't their fault) probably contributes too.