Sangakkara: Our first-class cricket is weak

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Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara has urged his country's Cricket Board to relook at the domestic structures and put more emphasis on first-class cricket.

Sangakkara, who will be retiring from international cricket after two matches of the upcoming Test series against India, feels to much emphasis is placed on school cricket and not enough attention given to the first-class game.

Sri Lanka is known for their strong cricket systems at school-level and often get packed crowds for high-school matches, but the left-handed Sangakkara says the national team will suffer in the long run.

He feels a healthy first-class cricket system will help better prepare the players for the intensity of international cricket.

Sangakkara told Cricinfo's Cricket Monthly: "The thing about our first-class cricket when I started out was that it was much more competitive than now. There were more players of quality in the same team, whereas now it's spread very thin.

"I don't know what's missing now. I definitely remember club cricket being a lot tougher and a lot more intense when I started.

"(Former Sri Lanka and now England coach)Trevor Bayliss made the comment when he was coach, we were teaching newcomers how to play first-class cricket while being in the national side. You want him to be the finished article already."

"What I don't understand is: why do we worry so much about school cricket? It's the first-class system we should be focusing on. Who's going to play in the Sri Lanka side at 18? No one.

"In Asia, this is the whole thing. We're always looking for the next boy wonder."

Sangakkara, who has more than 12 000 runs in Test cricket, will play two of the three Tests against India. The first Test is at Galle starting on 8 August while his final international match will be at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on 20 August.

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