As soon as he broke into the side at the age of 22, while a law student, it was apparent that Kumar Sangakkara was destined for more than just batting stardom. The left-handers that had preceded him, like Arjuna Ranatunga and Asanka Gurusinha, had been pugnacious battlers but Sangakkara was cut from more graceful cloth, easing into strokes with the elegance often associated withthose that play with the ‘other’ hand. The cut and the pull came naturally to him and with growing confidence, he became a more assured front-foot player as well.
He has been far less relentless in the one-day arena, often throwing his wicket away when well set, but his leadership qualities have made him a sought-after signing in the Indian Premier League. With the captain’s burden on his shoulders, he no longer keeps in Test matches, but the smart-Alec remarks from behind the stumps are a common feature of every game that Sri Lanka plays in colored clothes. Although leadership drew the best from him as a batsman, he remains a voracious no. 3 in all forms despite having relinquished the reins in 2011. Sangakkara won the top prize at 2012’s ICC awards, in addition to the award for Test Cricketer of the Year and the People’s Choice award for the second year running. Later that year he confirmed himself among batting’s modern greats, by becoming the equal fastest man to 10,000 Test runs alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, with the biggest Test crowd Sri Lanka had ever played for in audience, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground