A day before his final Test series began, Kumar Sangakkara reflected on a 15-year international career, and spoke on a variety of subjects, ranging from the next generation of great batsmen, to the security situation in Pakistan.

On the 2009 Lahore attack
"I don't know whether I'd term it as the lowest point. It was one of the scariest points for sure. But I think for the Sri Lankan cricket team it kind of again put things in perspective. As a country we had been through a raging conflict. We were untouched directly by the war. And then we go to play cricket, which should be the safest environment for us, and we get attacked. When I saw Thilan Samaraweera come back a few months later and score a Test hundred after being shot in the leg and running the risk of not being able to play again, maybe even die, that really brought home to us that being in a situation like that it is scary, but the real point is to come out of it strong.

"That brought us close to a large part of the Sri Lankan public who had experienced that day in and day out in the North and the East, and in other parts of Sri Lanka where bombs were going off. It was an experience that has stood in extremely good stead. That has really kept us grounded."

On Sri Lanka's reputation for avoiding verbal aggression
"I think being aggressive on the field was all about how well we bowled, batted and fielded. It's never being about verbals or sledging. Whenever you meet a Sri Lankan, he meets you with a smile. At times, we used to get upset with Muttiah Muralitharan because he always kept smiling at the opposition. I remember one instance when Andrew Flintoff, who was going through a bad patch with the bat, came to Sri Lanka. Murali was getting him out for fun. Freddie came to Galle and Murali told him: 'Freddie, first ball will be an off-break. I'll push mid-on down. Push me there and get a single'. Murali bowled an off-break and Freddie pushed and ran for single, and said 'Thanks Muzza'. Four overs later, Murali got him bowled. It's been great to play in sides such as this. Take Sanath Jayasuriya - he was destructive and instilled fear in the opposition. As a person, he wasn't that aggressive."

On younger batsmen he will enjoy watching
"In the Sri Lankan side, Angelo Mathews is by far the best batsman we have had in a long time, among the younger crop. He is already exceptional and he will get better. Lahiru Thirimanne has had a lean period, but I just feel he can kick on and become a wonderful Test player. Kusal Perera - it will be interesting how he goes in Test cricket. It is amazing to see what he does and what he can do. He could be again amazingly destructive and a match-winning cricketer."

"From an international sense, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane for India - I love watching them bat. South Africa you've got AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla. Steven Smith in Australia - he will have to carry on his batting for a long, long time now. And Joe Root in England. These guys have been exceptional. You have players who are going to make their own mark on world cricket and lot of these records we talk of now will be broken in the near future."

On Pakistan's inability to play at home
"I think the Pakistani public are wonderful cricket fans. They have always welcomed us with open arms. They love the way we play. They support Sri Lanka very, very strongly. For the Pakistan cricket team - to see that talent and ability and not being able to play in their own country, is sad. But that is not for me to say it is safe or unsafe. Sports hopefully will remain untouched by violence."