After leading Sri Lanka to a runners-up finish in the World Cup, Kumar Sangakkara today announced his decision to relinquish captaincy in the ODIs and T20 Internationals.
However Sangakkara will lead the side in Test series involving England and Australia, Sri Lanka’s next two assignments. Sangakkara, 33, was the third highest run getter in the World Cup and was named as captain of the World XI announced by the ICC ahead of World Cup winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Addressing a media conference on Tuesday at Sri Lanka Cricket headquarters in Colombo, Sangakkara said, “The decision to quit captaincy was taken before the World Cup, although I announce it today. I had a long chat with Mr. Aravinda de Silva, Chairman of Selectors two weeks before the World Cup.
“We decided not to make any formal announcement at that stage. Whether we would have gone out in the first round of the World Cup or won the World Cup finals, I thought this is the ideal time to go,” Sangakkara told journalists. “The reaction so far has been mixed. A lot of people have shown support. Some understand, some say I should have stayed on. As a cricket playing country, this is the time we need to plan for the future and not in another year’s time. When a World Cup ends, I think the leadership needs to change,” Sangakkara added.
Of the modern captains, Sangakkara said he looked up to Dhoni for the manner in which he lead the side. “I have a lot of respect for Arjuna (Ranatunga). He has always been on the top. I have learned a lot from India’s Dhoni also. He has been a great inspiration for me. He’s been actually a revelation for lot of people in the world.”
Sangakkara has been accused of cheating by former England captain Michael Vaughan during the toss of the World Cup final. The Match Referee had to do a re-toss in the final after some confusion and Vaughan had claimed that Sangakkara had called it wrong for the first time.
However, the Sri Lankan captain said he had always played the game in the right spirit. “I have heard all about that. There’s always some kind of controversy when something of that nature happens. I haven’t cheated and I never will cheat.”
Asked what was the highlight of his tenure, Sangakkara said, “Nothing to match reaching the finals of the World Cup. I have been there before as a vice-captain. Getting there as a captain was great. Beating Australia in Australia last year was sensational. The greatest satisfaction I had in leading the side is getting so many young players in and getting them to perform.”
Sangakkara took over from Mahela Jayawardene as captain in April 2009 and was an immediate success leading Sri Lanka to the finals of the World T20 Championship in England. He led the side in 14 Test matches winning five games and losing three matches while seven matches were drawn. Apart from leading the side in the World Cup final, Sangakkara became the first Lankan captain to win a series in Australia when his side beat the hosts 2-1 in a three match ODI series. Agencies