Sangakkara backs ‘performance based’ selection

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Sri Lankan cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara in Florida. (Pictures by Mahesh Abeyewardene)

Sri Lankan cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara in Florida. (Pictures by Mahesh Abeyewardene)

Sri Lankan cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara reflected on his first year of leadership following a historic T20 series against New Zealand in Florida.

A whirlwind 12 months saw the Lankan skipper lead his side to the brink of World T20 glory in England on his first assignment, and just days later he assumed a new role as a father with the birth of twins, followed by a tough stint leading Punjab in the IPL.

“I was a strong believer that Mahela would take us to the 2011 World Cup, but a few issues made him resign and now he is relaxed and enjoys his cricket,” Sangakkara told The Sri Lanka Reporter at Broward County Regional Park. Recalling his first year of captaincy, the 32-year-old said he wanted to introduce a new positive culture in the dressing room.

Sangakkara...Great believer in performance.

Sangakkara...Great believer in performance.

“I’m a great believer in performance and making sure guys are selected on that basis. There is a bit of give and take on selection in Sri Lanka since captain or coach has no official vote on selection of players,” he said.  “In Asia, the thought is youth is the way to go – I’m always a firm believer in performance and ability  – not potential and talent.”

Sangakkara described his brief stint as Kings XI Punjab captain in the IPL as a “low point”.  “Certain things are beyond your control at times. I’m proud to have played and led Sri Lanka,” he added.

The former Trinity College Kandy captain said he was honoured to lead a team in the first international cricket series in the U.S., adding that some cricketers used the week-long stay to soak up the Sunshine State’s offerings, which included a trip to Orlando to visit Disney World.

When asked by reporters about the low scoring games in Florida, he said such games can be interesting if “analyzed properly”. Batting tracks similar to the one in Lauderhill will get better as more games are played on them, he added.

FULL COVERAGE: New Zealand v Sri Lanka in Florida 2010