New Delhi,August 18: Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara will hang his boots after a glorious career, in which he amassed 12,350 runs in 133 Tests over 15 years, when he plays his final game at the P Sara Oval from Thursday.
It would be an emotional moment for the batsman and perhaps one man who can best understand the legend's present state of mind is Sachin Tendulkar, who quit the sport in 2013 after ruling the world of cricket for 24 years.
Tendulkar paid tributes to Sangakkara."He's been a fantastic, world-class cricketer. It's been great to watch him grow as a cricketer. Towards the beginning of his career, he wasn't a big hitter of the ball. However, I feel that he really picked it up in the second half of his career, where he would change gears and attack at will. It was part of his growth as a cricketer, and that comes with experience. Sangakkara exploited this experience beautifully. His consistency in this period was amazing. It was the sign of a world-class cricketer," Tendulkar said.
"He had his own style of batting. Left-handers are generally good to watch, and so was he. Of course, as an opposition player, I naturally didn't enjoy watching him bat when he got going! Sangakkara has had an accomplished career. He has been a role model for not just the Sri Lankans, but for cricketers across the world," Tendulkar said.
Sangakkara was always a thorn in India's flesh, having scored 1302 runs in 16 Tests at an average of 54.25, with five hundreds and two fifties to boot. "It was great to play against him. Whenever we played against Sri Lanka, he was the danger man we looked to get out. I thought him to be a dangerous batsman because he had a special ability: Even though he looked uncomfortable in the middle, he had this knack for scoring runs," Tendulkar felt.
The Indian maestro, whose records were threatened by Sangakkara for a while before he announced his retirement, felt that batsmen like him always enjoyed the pressure of being the main run-getter. "The leading players of a side always relish that role," he said. "I want to congratulate Sangakkara on a glorious career. I wish him all the success in whatever he chooses. Above all, I wish good health to both him and his family . An international career which lasts that long is basically a combination of will power, desire, vision, dream, aspiration, self-belief and discipline," he concluded.
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