Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo
Kumar Sangakkara has said that the Sri Lankan board should choose a long-term captain as his successor and not give someone a caretaker role. Sangakkara said both Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews were ready for captaincy but said they should be given longer tenures if they are to be successful.
"You have to look long term. Not just what is good for now. If you want to go for Dilshan, give him the confidence for a long term," Sangakkara told ESPNcricinfo. "Don't give the captaincy to Dilshan and say, 'You are just going to be captain for a year and half.' It's not going to be good for him, for he is going to think, 'My days are numbered anyway.' And so it won't be good for the team.
"Both Dilshan and Angie [Angelo] are suitable. If they think Angie is too young then Dilshan will do a good job because he has these little touches for success. Anything he does on the field, he has this little knack. I don't know whether he will be the long-term candidate with his age, but if he keeps himself fit he can easily play the next World Cup.
"Or they can take the plunge with Angelo. That is where the selectors have to really make a call. Pressure will have to be shared, if they make a call and if things don't go well in the first or second year, they will have to be strong that they made a good decision. They will have to put everything possible in to make sure the captain has everything to do a good job. If it doesn't go well even after that, maybe you can re-evaluate."
Reflecting on his own decision to resign, Sangakkara admitted that it was partly selfish but said the majority of the decision was based on what he felt was good for Sri Lanka. "No matter how much I try to deny it, there is a lot of 'me' in that decision. Having said that a large part of the decision is what I think is the way forward for the team. The way forward is not as difficult as people make it out to be. Players come players go and so do captains. Yet teams progress. That is the natural progression.
Sangakkara said the administrators had the good of Sri Lankan cricket at heart but should never do anything that affects the players. "You can have your administrative scuffles but when it comes to playing cricket, players should not get involved with administration unless it's something that directly affects their performance. And administrators should never cross that line. If they can maintain that familiarity and at the same time the professional distance it would be great. It can go wrong. It has gone wrong at times."
Sangakkara said he took the decision to resign three months before the World Cup and that Mahela Jayawardene supported it. "I am not resigning because I am unhappy. I can do this for longer but I don't think it's the right thing for me or for the team. Another World Cup is coming up in four years. We think four years is a long time but suddenly you will realise two years have already gone and the system hasn't changed. A new guy is appointed with hardly any time to lead the team."
Sangakkara said the decisions to phase out Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas were the most difficult ones he took as captain. "It was a very delicate situation because Sanath and Vaasy are legends. You need to be 100% sure you are making the right decision. Personal likes and dislikes have nothing to do with what's best for the team. We are a family, but you have arguments, your problems - that's the way it should be, else nothing constructive is going to work."
Sangakkara said age wasn't the criterion to drop these players and that it was purely about performance and team combination. "Sanath and Vaasy missed selection [for the World Cup] by a whisker. It was unbiased: it's not about age. If someone is performing and contributing to the value of the dressing room, nothing else matters. It was a never a case of, oh he is old."