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Be our envoy to UK: Sri Lanka president to retiring Kumar Sangakkara

As the thousands in attendance to bid farewell roared in unison, for once Kumar Sangakkara was lost for words.

Written by Bharat Sundaresan | Colombo |
Updated: August 25, 2015 2:07:07 pm
Kumar Sangakkara, Sangakkara, Sri Lanka cricket, cricket sri lanka, india vs sri lanka, ind vs sl, india sri lanka, cricket news, cricket Kumar Sangakkara with India captain Virat Kohli after the match. (Source: PTI)

HANGING up his boots from international cricket, Kumar Sangakkara is scheduled to fly out to London Tuesday to continue his stint with Surrey in the English County Championship. But there’s a possibility that when Surrey step out to play their next match, they will have the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom padding up for them as their overseas cricketer.

For, only minutes after Sangakkara’s 15-year cricket career had come to an end, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena publicly offered the retiring legend an opportunity to take guard for his second innings, this time as a diplomat.

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As the thousands in attendance to bid farewell roared in unison, for once Sangakkara was lost for words. All he could in response do was smile. Later in the day, he would deal with the offer in diplomatic fashion, neither denying it nor accepting it.

“I actually just heard it and it was quite a surprise. I have to go and think about it and really have a proper chat with His Excellency as well,” he said.

Bigger plans

It all started with Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe informing Sangakkara that the government had bigger plans for him. The Prime Minister was at the P Sara Oval to present the former Sri Lankan captain with a plaque.

“You have been an ambassador for cricket over 15 years. We feel it’s time you become an ambassador for Sri Lanka,” he is said to have told him.

Those present for the plaque ceremony said Wickramasinghe then walked up to Yehali, Sangakkara’s wife, and told her, “You finish one job today. Get ready to start a new job from tomorrow.”

Asked whether this was the President’s way of coaxing him into politics, Sangakkara said: “I’ve only got one invitation so far. I haven’t got the second one. I respect the President’s request. I need to talk more with him about it. I’m very inexperienced in such things. You need to have special knowledge for that post as well. I have to think about it and work out a reply,” he said.

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