Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara hung up his boots after the end of the second Test against India at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. After India defeated the hosts by 278 runs, there was a special ceremony to honour the legendary batsman. Sangakkara delivered an amazing speech during the ceremony. Here is what he said in that
Your excellency, the President of Sri Lanka, the honourable Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, all the well wishers and the invitees, fans, all my friends, my family – who are all here, which is a rare occasion that all of us are together – Virat Kohli and the Indian team, Angelo and my team, I have got so many people to thank here.
Starting of with my school, Trinity college gave me a fantastic grounding in life and I owe a lot to that for what I’ve achieved to today. To all my coaches, my father used to take me to so many coaches when I was young. Mr. Sunil Fernando, he has coached me from the age of 12, everything that he’s taught me has stood me in very good stead. He was from my rival school but he was kind enough to coach me.Whenever I go to Kandy, my father still takes me to him and I spend a couple of hours in the cement nets where I used to play as a kid trying to refine my basics a little more.
To all my past captains and my all my teammates, thanks a lot for all that you’ve done for me. The support that I’ve achieved, the inspiration, the drive and the commitment you’ve shown, not just to the game, also to each other, I value them very very highly. I am going to miss all those times in the dressing room talking, laughing…talking about nonsense, talking about cricket, I am going to miss that. To Charlie and Suthami Austin, you’ve become much more than a manager, you’ve become family. I know I’ve not thanked you enough in the past, but today I’d like to say a huge thank you for being friends, my manager and most of all for making me the god-father of your beautiful children.
A lot of people asked me who inspired me, I didn’t have to go far for inspiration because I have my parents here with me. I am sorry but I don’t want to embarrass you too much but I didn’t have to look too far from home for inspiration because I’ve had the most amazing parents anyone could wish for. I’ve had amazing siblings and all the support and love they’ve 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 at home. A big thank you to all my in-laws, I’ve been blessed with an extended family. They always say you can’t choose family, you can only choose your friends but I am glad I was born as your son and your sibling, thank you very much.
I am sorry I don’t usually get emotional but it is very rarely when my parents and my siblings come and watch me play and I am very very thankful. To cap it all off, I’ve had 15 wonderful years and everyone asks me what my achievement was the World Cup win, the hundreds I’ve scored. But I would like to say, when I look up at the box today and see all my friends, the people I’ve known for 30 years of my life, people I’ve met later in life, all coming here on a Monday to support me. To have all my family here, my friends here and after this day is over to sit down at home and spend some time with my family and to see that they still love me no matter what happens, no matter whether I win or lose that their love is unconditional that will be my greatest achievement. To all the Sri Lankan fans, it gives me immense pleasure to represent all of you.
To Virat and the Indian team, thank you for everything, your kindness and all the words. I can’t ask for anything more than tough cricket when I am leaving. Thank you very much for putting in the effort. You guys over the years, have been our toughest opponents. Doesn’t matter if we’ve lost today, we’ll try and beat you in the next team (smiles). Thank you for the toughness and thank you for really making it a privilege of mine to play against you. Angi (Mathews), you have an amazing team and an amazing future. I just hope you will work hard and enjoy this sport, the sport we have only for a short time – it comes and goes but don’t be afraid. Take pride in what you do and don’t be afraid to lose when you’re searching for a win and keep the the Sri Lankan flag flying high.