Earlier this year, the great Sri Lankan batsman and wicketkeeper, Kumar Sangakkara, led his team to the finals of the cricket World Cup, and he was named the International Cricket Conference’s One-Day International cricketer of the year. He pulled off a brilliant rearguard century to stymie England’s efforts to win the third and final Test of a difficult series. His MCC Spirit of Cricket Lecture at Lord’s bravely attacked the politicization of Sri Lankan cricket selection. Now he has virtually single-handedly saved Sri Lanka from defeat in the first Test match against Pakistan, with a brilliant rearguard double-century.
Sangakkara’s manifest integrity and love of the game seem somewhat old-fashioned virtues in today’s game of high-stakes wins and money-dictated outcomes. His record in all forms of the game is good, but his Test record is among the world’s best. He is still only thirty-three years old. If he continues for another four or five years at the level he’s maintained, he stands to become the greatest Sri Lanka batsmen ever. He may even be that now.