Diplo­matic Post for San­gakkara

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

Sri Lanka's Ku­mar San­gakkara bid a tear­ful farewell to in­ter­na­tional cricket on Mon­day and was im­me­di­ately of­fered the post of the is­land's top en­voy in Bri­tain where he plays county cricket.

Sev­eral thou­sand cheer­ing fans, many of them school chil­dren wav­ing Sri Lankan flags, along with VIPs, turned out to farewell San­gakkara on the fi­nal day of the sec­ond Test be­tween his team and In­dia in Colombo. "You have been a great hon­our to Sri Lanka," Sri Lankan Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena said in a tele­vised cer­e­mony at P. Sara Oval for the for­mi­da­ble crick­eter af­ter the match.

San­gakkara, who turns out for Sur­rey in English county cricket, did not di­rectly ad­dress Sirisena's an­nounce­ment on the diplo­matic post, later telling re­porters he had been un­pre­pared for the ges­ture. "It was a sur­prise, I have to go and think about it and dis­cuss with his ex­cel­lency ( the pres­i­dent)," San­gakkara said.

Dur­ing the for­mal send­off, the 37-year-old broke down as he thanked his par­ents for stand­ing by him dur­ing his 15 years of cricket. "All the sup­port and love they showed over the years, whether I played cricket or not, whether I did well or not, the only place I could go and feel safe was home. So thank you 'amma' (mother) and 'apachchi' ( fa­ther)," San­gakkara said, fight­ing back tears, as fans cheered and clapped.

He also praised In­dian cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli and his team for their tough op­po­si­tion dur­ing his farewell match which Sri Lanka lost by 278 runs on Mon­day, al­low­ing the tourists to level 1-1 in the se­ries. "Thank you for not giv­ing any quar­ter," he told the In­dian team. "And thank you for re­ally mak­ing it a priv­i­lege of mine to play against you," he said.

San­gakkara, the fifth high­est run-get­ter in Test history, fin­ished with 12,400 runs from 134 Tests at an av­er­age of 57.40. He scored 38 cen­turies, in­clud­ing a best of 319 against Bangladesh in Chit­tagong last year.

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