11:27 am - Friday June 14, 2024

I don’t think game of cricket owes us anything, says Kumar Sangakkara

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Mirpur – Kumar Sangakkara`s eloquence is unquestionable and he was grace personified on the final day of his T20 International career stating that it was a privilege to play the sport and it “does not owe anything to the players”.

It turned out to be a fitting farewell for Sangakkara and his other illustrious teammate Mahela Jayawardene as Sri Lanka triumphed at the ICC World T20, beating India by six wickets in the title clash here.

“I don`t think the game owes us, or any player, anything. Our job is to try and play it as best as we can and walk away, hopefully having made a positive impact. The game gives us the opportunities and it`s up to us to try and take them,” Sangakkara said at the post-match press conference.

“We had four opportunities before this, and today we took it. You need a bit of ability, luck, planning, execution. Also being at the right place at the right time,” the veteran said after he got a hearty applause from the media contingent.

Asked about his feelings having won the Cup, he understandably thrilled.

“It`s amazing. I can`t explain it. This is the first time that I have been a part of a team that has won a World Cup. We`d been disappointed four times before. It`s hard to describe exactly what you feel, but you feel humble. You realise how difficult it is to get here, how much support you need, not just from your team-mates, but from your family, your fans, the support staff.

“You can never do anything alone. You may be the best batsman in the world or the best bowler in the world, but you can`t do anything without support. At moments like this, you have to look back, reflect and be thankful for that support, because without that you wouldn`t be here.

“It`s been an amazing journey. It`s time to walk away, and to walk away like this is even better,” Sangakkara said, wearing his Man-of-the-Match medal proudly.

Was there any added pressure on the side as they wanted to win it for him and Jayawardene, and the thoughtful Sangakkara said, “It`s wonderful that the side wanted to win it for us. But there are 20 million other people to win for.

“It`s not just about me or Mahela. It`s about an entire squad, everyone who stands with you and behind you. We get noticed because it`s our last game, but at the end of the day, everyone has played a part.”

Sangakkara ruled out that emotions have played a part in the last few overs when they were inching towards the target.

“Not till the end. I am a great believer that if you get emotional, you have to use it to your advantage. If not, then forget about being emotional. When we had 11 to get and I top-edged a boundary, I knew it was a couple of shots away, and with Thisara (Perera) at the other end, it was a done deal.

“That`s when I thought I could show some emotion. Sometimes you have to pump yourself up to get over the line. That`s what happened today.”

Sangakkara had a triple hundred against Bangladesh this year but had an indifferent tournament before clinching the final for his team.

“I`ve had good times and bad, not just this year. What I did differently was that I probably watched the ball a bit better today. I was a bit more positive. Earlier, when I went in at two down, I was cautious, trying to build a partnership, not being positive and showing intent. That`s something I changed today.

“But, to do that we needed a low target. We knew that the Indian spinners could be effective here.”

Sangakkara was blown away in the manner the Sri Lankan bowlers bowled at the death and said it set up the match for his team.

“The last four overs that we bowled were immaculate. I haven`t seen four overs like that bowled to a guy on 70-something off 50 balls and MS Dhoni, who can hit any ball out of the park. For them not to be able to get bat on ball, it showed the quality of our bowling and the hard work and planning that had been done ahead of the game.

“You would take chasing 130 any day, but to restrict a side like that, we needed something special and our bowlers produced it.”

Sangakkara said that change of captaincy in the middle of the tournament (Dinesh Chandimal made way for Lasith Malinga) did not have any adverse effect on the team.

“Our job is to support anyone who captains. It doesn`t matter who is leading. It`s unfortunate that Chandi missed out on the last few games. Chandi has an amazing future, as a leader and as a player. He`s still very young, and probably 13-14 years ahead of him. He will be one of our better players.

“Lasith took over and did a fantastic job. We`re just happy that we have players who can step in and do the job when needed. We have that quality in our dressing room. That makes us believe in ourselves and each other and it shows when we walk out to the middle,” he concluded.

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