Lancashire have signed Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan captain, as their overseas player for the 2010 season. Subject to registration, Sangakkara will represent the club upon the conclusion of the ICC World Twenty20 in April and the proposed Asia Cup.
Sangakkara will be the third player from Sri Lanka to represent Lancashire, after Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya.
"I am thrilled to be joining Lancashire and really looking forward to representing a club and county that has such a long and distinguished cricketing history," Sangakkara said. "Murali always talks fondly of his times at Lancashire so I had no hesitation in accepting the club's kind offer to play for them in the upcoming season."
Sangakkara has an impressive international record, averaging 55.10 in 88 Tests and 35.97 in 262 ODIs. His experience in Twenty20s, too, will be an asset to the club's campaign in the Friends Provident Twenty20 competition and its pursuit of seeking a berth in the Champions League Twenty20.
"2010 will see the introduction of the new Friends Provident T20 competition with places in the lucrative Champions League on offer for the domestic finalists," a media release issued by Lancashire stated. "And with such importance now placed on Twenty 20 cricket, the addition of Kumar will not only bring added experience to the Lancashire squad but this aggressive yet elegant left-handed batsman averages 33 in crickets' shortest format."
On confirming the signing, Mike Watkinson, Lancashire's cricket director, said: "With so much international cricket being played around the world it is difficult to find world-class players who are available for extended periods during our domestic season. So I'm delighted we have secured the services of Kumar for the majority of our season and I know he is looking forward to playing for Lancashire.
"Kumar is an excellent batsman, experienced leader and is a proven match winner. He has all the attributes and qualities we look for when signing an overseas player and is someone we know can make a significant contribution in all three competitions next season."
Sangakkara is likely to miss the first six weeks of the English domestic season due to his international commitments, and Lancashire revealed they would be looking for a replacement for that duration. "The first part of the season is full of Championship cricket, so myself and Peter (Moores) are looking at our options in terms of cover for Kumar during this period," Watkinson said. "We do have some talented homegrown batsmen in our squad but it's important that we start the season off as strongly as possible and if the right overseas player is available, then that would be an ideal solution."
Lancashire coach Peter Moores added Sangakkara would bring tremendous value to the squad. "Kumar is hot property at the moment and rightly so. He is arguably the most consistent batsman in international cricket with an outstanding average in all formats, making his signing a real coup for Lancashire," he said. "Not only will he bring his qualities as a player to the squad but his experience and knowledge will be invaluable. Kumar has an excellent record in the traditional form of the game, but is also at the fore when it comes to the rapidly evolving Twenty20 format having played in the IPL since its inception.
"In Kumar we have an excellent resource for our younger squad members to tap into as they look to improve and as we continue to build a squad hungry for success."