The quarter final match between Sri Lanka and South Africa wrote a different story! The script was changed & so did the chokers. They succeeded in breaking the jinx & it brought an end to the glorious career of Kumar Sangakkara.
At the age of 37, when other stars start fading gradually; finally calling it a day, Sanga was an exception. This No.3 batsman of Lanka was always there when his team demanded so. Since January 2009, he is the leading run scorer in International cricket (Tests/ODIs/T20s) scoring 14087 runs in 268 matches with an average of 51.98. He is nearly 4000 runs ahead of the second best in the list, his own team-mate TM Dilshan. He is only the second after Tendulkar to cross 14,000 runs in ODIs. In Tests, he is the fifth-highest scorer of all time, only behind Tendulkar, Ponting, Kallis and Dravid with an average of 58.66. As of February 2015, he was placed at number 1 in ICC test rankings. What makes it more stunning is the fact that he has also kept wickets at the international level since 2000. A true team player, this No.3 batsman of Lanka was always there when his team demanded so. Be it Batting, Wicket-keeping or captaining, Sanga excelled in every department.
In ICC 2015 World Cup, a tournament buzzing with the likes of the AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle & Glen Maxwell, this artist from Lanka was quietly doing his job. Having already announced retirement after this tournament, we saw what determination means for a legend. In each of his innings, right from taking stance to playing those beautiful cover drives, we saw his determination, focus, and the same hunger for runs which any new comer would have shown and above all his love for the sport he is playing! Undoubtedly, it resulted in four back to back hundreds, a world record in itself! All these hundreds came at a run a ball or better, proving his game has not only stood the test of time but also improved with it.
“Why are you going when you have so much to give?” somebody asked him. Sanga smiled. “Retirement for me is never about form. I know I could have played a couple of more seasons but had decided that this was time to go and I stuck to that. I have tried to give my best to the game, but then it goes on,” Sangakkara said.
For the man who exhibited beauty and grace with his strokes, transforming cricket into a battle of artistry, metamorphosing the contact of bat and ball into a paintbrush and canvas, had to finish off with a scratchy innings. And then this happened…
When he got out in his final innings, even the Gods could not hold themselves back from crying! Millions of cricket fans will wait for Test series against India in August to see you bat for the one final time!
No amount of words can give you a fitting tribute, O-unsung-hero, the modern batting legend!
This is a guest post by Aniket Patil who is a studying B.Tech. Electronics Engineering at VJTI, Mumbai (Batch of 2011-2015). He is an avid reader and a cook in making.