Jayawardene: Sanga is SL’s greatest batsman

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Sri Lanka batting legend Mahela Jayawardene has come out and said that former international teammate Kumar Sangakkara is the best batsman that his country has ever produced.

The 37 year-old Sangakkara, who has scored more than 27000 runs in international cricket, will call time on his international career after the first two Tests in an upcoming three-match series against India.

Jayawardene, who himself scored more than 25 000 runs for Sri Lanka and is considered by many as a modern-day great, says the left-handed Sangakkara has been able to raise the standard for future cricketers of his country.

A lot of Sri Lankans have a special affection with former captain Aravinda De Silva as he became the first world-class player from the Asian nation in the late 1990s, and put them on the cricketing map, which inspired the likes of Jayawardene.

Arvinda retired in 2002 with a Test average of 42.97 and 20 centuries in the longest format of the game.

Jayawardene said: "Let me put it straight. Kumar Sangakkara is the best batsman that Sri Lanka has ever produced. Aravinda De Silva will always be a sentimental favourite for most of the Sri Lankans including me but numbers alone make Kumar a phenomenal achiever.

"More than 60 international centuries (38 in Tests and 25 ODIs). Look at those staggering numbers. Kumar's greatness was his ability to score runs against any attack in all types of conditions.

"He really pushed his boundaries and have set some imposing targets for the next generation of cricketers. In any international sport, there are only a few who attained greatness in every aspect, whether for your performance on the field or your conduct off it.

"Kumar was one such player. The void left by him will take some time to fill. I believe Sri Lankan cricket as a whole was blessed to have him. I consider myself lucky to have played alongside a champion performer like Kumar."

The first Test between hosts Sri Lanka and India starts in Galle on Wednesday.

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