Former Indian cricket captain, Sunil Gavaskar paying a rich tribute to Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara, said he was the ‘conscience of cricket during turbulent times’.
Sangakkara was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame last week and Gavaskar, the first man to 10,000 Test runs handed the Commemorative cap to the ex-Sri Lankan captain on Sunday at Rose Bowl during the ICC World Test Championship final.
“Kumar you know, with all these tributes paid to you earlier on, I just want to add mine and say, you have been an exceptional cricketer and during the turbulent times our game faced, you along with Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman to name just three, have been the conscience of international cricket. That’s the highest tribute I can pay you. As I said, our game went through turbulent times and you were there for it. Congratulations and welcome to the ICC Hall of Fame,” Mr. Garvaskar said.
Now, Gavaskar did not explain as to what he meant by ‘turbulent times’ but it can be assumed that he was referring to high standards of values that Sangakkara maintained during his unblemished career stretching for 16 years in what was a testing period for the game after corruption in cricket had been exposed.
The manner in which he conducted himself on and off the field, his integrity, unparalleled success as a batsman made him a household name in the sport not only here but all over the world too. Two years ago, MCC broke away from tradition by naming him the first non-British President of world’s most prominent cricket club.
“I am very honoured to get my cap from Mr. Gavaskar, the greatest opener that I have seen, a man of courage and conviction. A man who batted with a piece of plastic on his head against the most fearsome fast bowling attacks and scored most number of hundreds. I can’t be more honoured that I received my cap from him,” Kumar Sangakkara said after receiving the cap.
Kumar Sangakkara retired in 2015 as the sixth highest run scorer in Test cricket. He said that World T-20 win 2014 in Dhaka was his most memorable moment in the game.
“2014 final win was one of my favourites. Tried and failed four times and you know to eventually win an ICC event was special. So many special memories. I am very lucky to have made friends beyond the field of cricket. I have grown up watching the greats of the game and I am hear talking cricket listening to greats of the game,” Kumar Sangakkara added.
At this point, Mr. Gavaskar interrupted and said that what’s actually happening was that they were learning from him.
Well read Sangakkara was the recipient of Ryde Gold Medal, the award for the best all-round student at Trinity Collège Kandy in Sri Lanka.