Sri Lanka news March 16, 2014

Sangakkara to quit T20Is after World T20

Kumar Sangakkara has announced he will retire from Twenty20 internationals following the World T20 in Bangladesh. Sangakkara, 36, has played 50 T20Is for Sri Lanka, hitting 1311 runs at an average of 32.77 and a strike rate of 120.

"Definitely, without a doubt, this is my last World T20. I won't be playing any T20 internationals after this," he told Sunday Island. "It's sad, but that's the truth. It's not the end of my T20 career, though. I would like to play franchise based T20s. Once your World Cup prospects are over, you should give the next crop of players an opportunity. It's a natural progression."

A patient, accumulative batsman for much of his career, Sangakkara has been a considerably improved limited-overs batsman over the past 18 months. Though a more belligerent outlook has paid most obvious dividends in ODIs, he has also contributed heavily to Sri Lanka's consistency in T20s.

"Improving is the whole purpose of playing. When you reach a goal you lift that goal and try to achieve something new. Whether you are young or older, the motivation has to be there. The day that motivation goes and you are just trying to hold on to your place in the side, that's the time that you have to decide that the time is right to go. When you play for a team, the main thing is to win. If you can do it there is a huge feeling of satisfaction. Those are the things that really motivate me."

Sangakkara captained his team to the final of the 2009 World Twenty20, and had also been integral to Sri Lanka's charge to the 2012 final - both of which were lost. Now top-ranked in the shortest format, Sangakkara hoped his team would omit the mistakes that scuppered them in previous tournaments.

"We had a fine opportunity in 2009. We won the toss and it was a beautiful wicket to bat on. We were 64 for five and ended up making 138. If we had got to 150, we would have won.

"In the 2012 final, we could have restricted the West Indies to 110 or so. But we gave away too many runs towards the end and it was a tough wicket to chase. I don't think we played to our capabilities. The Pakistan side was a good side against spin, and we played well in the semi-final against them. We knew going into the final that anything over 140 was going to be tough. You may go into a final with an unbeaten record, but unfortunately, you can be beaten and that's the reality."

Mahela Jayawardene has not announced his retirement, but the World T20 is likely to see the last of him in the format as well. Sangakkara also said he would reevaluate his place in the ODI team after the 2015 World Cup, as long as his form and fitness held out until then.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments