Colombo - Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara said a tearful farewell to international
cricket Monday and was immediately offered the post of the island's top
envoy in Britain, where he plays county cricket.
cheering fans, many of them schoolchildren waving Sri Lankan flags
along with VIPs, turned out to salute Sangakkara at the end of the
second Test against India in Colombo.
"You have been a great
honour to Sri Lanka," President Maithripala Sirisena said in a televised
ceremony at the P. Sara Oval for the formidable cricketer after the
Sangakkara, who turns out for Surrey in English county
cricket, did not directly address Sirisena's announcement about the
diplomatic post, later telling reporters he had been unprepared for the
"It was a surprise, I have to go and think about it and discuss with his excellency (the president)" Sangakkara said.
the formal sendoff, the 37-year-old broke down as he thanked his
parents for standing by him during his 15 years of cricket.
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
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 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.
Hours after the emotional send-off, Sangakkara said he was looking forward to a "new innings" with his family.
you for the wonderful farewell," he said on Twitter. "I will miss the
cricket. But my amazing wife (Yehali) and children await my innings with
them. Time for family."
Thousands turned out on Sunday to see
Sangakkara's final international innings. But he was denied a dream end
to his career when he was caught tapping a full toss to the short
mid-wicket fielder for 18.
Sangakkara, the fifth highest
run-getter in Test history, finished his Test career 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.
follows Sachin Tendulkar of India, Ricky Ponting of Australia, Jacques
Kallis of South Africa and Rahul Dravid of India in the all-time list of
leading Test scorers.
ICC chief executive David Richardson paid tribute to Sangakkara as "one of cricket's greatest ever players and ambassadors".
scoring a total of 28,016 runs across all three formats, he puts
himself in the higher echelons of players to ever grace the game.
will rightly go down as one of cricket's greatest-ever players and
ambassadors," Richardson said in an ICC statement.