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Sangakkara to quit T20Is after World T20

Andrew Fidel Fernando

March 16, 2014

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Kumar Sangakkara drives authoritatively, India v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Fatullah, February 28, 2014
Kumar Sangakkara - "The day the 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" © AFP
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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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by sheenu on (March 19, 2014, 7:40 GMT)

I am an Indian fan, but I consider Sanga to be the BEST left-hand batsman of his generation! More than that, he is a thorugh professional and an absolute gem of a person.

Posted by pitch_curator on (March 19, 2014, 7:06 GMT)

For me, Sanga is one of the top 3 batsmen in test cricket right now and one of the tope 10 batsmen in ODI cricket. But he is a liability and a misfit in T20 cricket. His classical style does not allow him to score at a fast clip from ball one. He captained our IPL franchise - Sunrisers Hyd and he was abysmal. He could not score any runs and was slowing down the entire momentum of the innings. And mind you, he came into both seasons with truckloads of runs in the ODI and test matches and in terrific form. We could win a few games only when he dropped himself. Sanga - like Clarke and Sachin is not cut out for the T20 game and it is good that he has decided to move out reducing the headache for selectors. I would be very surprised if any franchise in IPL actually picks him at a high price. At best he will be a bargain pick.

Posted by vjust on (March 19, 2014, 2:00 GMT)

Mahela is a legend, a player with amazing class. I am an indian , but to me Mahela is the greatest treat to watch after Lara. He carried his team on countless occassions. When he bats I am under a spell.

And Sangakkara is a class act, intelligent, and a rock for his team in so many ways.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2014, 19:27 GMT)

Happy to hear from foreign fans. Sanga one of the best of Sri Lankan cricketers. Whatever it is pls don't worry he still had s lot life in Test & ODI cricket .

Posted by HealthyCric on (March 18, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

I am Indian. Srilanka is going miss you Indians are going miss your fight to win games for Srilanka. I remeber the days from Dulip Mendis, Ranatunga, I used to think what's next then came this era of young talent with players like Sangakkara/Jayawadene/Muralidharan. They changed entire Srilankan cricket and world crciket. We will have to see a srilakan team with out these three but I believe there is lot of talent to come out and time will only tell that.

They will play test matches for sure for few years I guess.

Sensible decision by the way, they can make some money in franchise games next year or two and also help build young talent in Srilanka with peace of mind. Every one don't want to be a Ranatunga :)

Posted by shiminhaj on (March 18, 2014, 4:21 GMT)

sanga ye u r our role model legends really i can't think without you sri lankan cricket team........

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (March 18, 2014, 4:16 GMT)

If you need definition for "flat track bully", then just look @ Mahela & Sanga to a certain extent!!!! When you check for a player, you tend to look @ his record outside outside subcontinent because that's how you judge his ability....what has he done in an unknown territory??? In fact Mahela's & Sanga's record in outside subcontinent is poorer than VVS & Sehwag which is shocking!! Quite surprisingly, Mahela & Sanga have really struggled against Aus in their own conditions & srilanka has won only 1 test match against AUS in their whole history!!! No team can boast of such a record..;) I reckon Aravinda de silva is the greatest srilankan batsmen ever!!

Posted by shiminhaj on (March 18, 2014, 4:16 GMT)

sanga bro u r our role model legends really i can't think without you sri lankan cricket team

Posted by   on (March 18, 2014, 1:48 GMT)

Sanga and Mahela should continue...Cause they are both Sri Lankas lasting legends..They fire up when needed...They are both needed by Sri Lanka to continue............:)

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 20:41 GMT)

sanga&mahela both are great characters they are spinal cord of srilankan cricket recent years enjoy Odis&5day cricket hope u will play 5 years &more at the end great decision from a great legend

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