Emotional Sangakkara bids farewell


Kumar Sangakkara fought back the tears as he thanked friends, family, team-mates and opponents following his retirement from the international game.

The legendary Sri Lankan's career came to an end on Monday, although not in the fashion he would have hoped as the hosts fell to a resounding 278-run defeat at the hands of India.

That loss levelled the three-match series at 1-1 with one to play, but the focus was on Sangakkara as he made an emotional farewell speech at the P Sara Oval in Colombo, having scored more than 28,000 international runs across all three formats in a stellar 15-year career.

"I have so many people to thank," he said. "First of all everybody who has come here. Then my college, Trinity College, it was an amazing school to go to.

"I owe a lot to the grounding and foundation I got there. To all my coaches, Mr Sunil Fernando, who is here. He was from my rival school, but he was kind enough to coach me.

"Mr Bertie Wijesinghe, who is in his 90s. A huge inspiration to me. To all my past captains, to all my team-mates, the support, the inspiration, the drive you have shown, I value very very highly.

"All the moments in the dressing room, I am going to miss that very much. To Charlie and Suthami Austin, it has not been as easy job managing me but you have become much more than a manger. Thank you most of all for making me the godfather of your beautiful children.

"A lot of people have asked me what has inspired me. I don't have to look beyond my parents. I am sorry, I don't want to embarrass you but you have been my inspiration.

"And my siblings. I felt safe at home. They say you can't choose your family, but I am thankful I was born your children and your sibling. I am sorry, I don't always get emotional, but this is the rare time that my parents and my siblings are here.

"People asked me the big achievements. The hundreds, the [2014 Twenty20] World Cup win, but I just look up at the box, all my friends over the last 30 years, have come up here on a Monday to watch me play.

"To be able to go back to a family that will love me whether I win or lose. That is my greatest achievement.

"To Virat [Kohli] and the Indian team. Thanks for the kind words and more importantly the quality of cricket you have brought here. I couldn't have asked for anything more than tough cricket when I am leaving.

"You have been our toughest opponents. We have planned to beat you. Sometimes we have succeeded, sometimes we haven't, but thanks for being there.

"Finally to Angie [Angelo Mathews] and my team. Angie, you have an amazing team. You have an amazing future. Just be fearless. Don't be afraid to lose when going for a win."