Moody: Sanga and Mahela drove each other


Former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody feels Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene had a healthy rivalry that contributed to their success on the cricket field.

Sangakkara retired from international cricket after Sri Lanka lost the second Test against India on Monday while Jayawardene quit after the World Cup earlier this year.

Both players are their country's leading run-scorers in international cricket, with Sangakkara retiring with 12400 runs in Tests at an average of 57.

The pair also shared in the highest partnership in cricket when they put on 624 against South Africa in 2006, in Moody's tenure as coach.

Moody said: "There's a very strong bond between Mahela and Kumar, but I also think there was a healthy rivalry between the two. It never really came to the surface.

"It was underlying. It was there in a positive way where one would drive the other with their performances. That's why they were so formidable as a partnership in the middle."

It was also when Moody was coach that Sangakkara made the most important move of his career; giving up the wicketkeeper gloves in Test cricket to concentrate on his batting.

Recalling the moment, Moody said: "I remember Kumar having a conversation with me about halfway through my time as their coach. He was seeking my advice about his role as the wicketkeeper-batsman in the side and his career ambitions.

"I said to him at the time that the team wanted him to do everything, but at the same time that batting and keeping wicket in all formats wasn't something he could do for a long period, and do it as successfully as he would like.

"I just asked him, 'What's your ambition as a batsman? Do you want to be the best batsman in the world?' He basically said he wanted to achieve that milestone – he didn't say he wanted to be the best batsman in the world, just that he wanted to be the best he possibly could be."