Kumar Sangakkara announcing retirement? It’s nothing more than a rumour!

Social media was abuzz today with rumours of Kumar Sangakkara’s retirement

A prominent daily in Sri Lanka, Daily Mirror, discharged a bolt from the blue in the early hours of Friday by publishing a news article that read “Sanga to announce retirement”. The news article alleged that according to “sources”, Sanga would announce his retirement from all forms of international cricket today, the 21st of November.

However, eminent journalists in Sri Lanka have spurned the hearsay from the popular news paper, tweeting that Sangakkara’s manager has denied any kind of retirement plans. One of the journalists also claimed “that monkey selling everything off field”. It can be surmised that he was referring to the journalist who wrote the article.

Sangakkara, who has already retired from T20 internationals, has already made his retirement plans from ODIs after 2015 world cup clear. But he has repeatedly said that he would continue playing Test cricket even after the World Cup. But the news article from Daily Mirror came as a gratuitous shock for the island nation, who were already perplexed about who the common candidate would be for the oppositions in the upcoming presidential elections. There were also rumours that Sangakkara may be announced as the common candidate, if his retirement proclamation was to be true. According to the rumour, Sangakkara met the selectors on Wednesday where he revealed his plans. But a tweet from the co-founder of cricturf.com – a sports website from Sri Lanka – said that it was merely “a chat” between the elegant left hander and the selectors, thus rejecting the rumour.

The southpaw, earlier this year in Dhaka, ahead of the WT20 2014, told the media “As far as ODI and Test cricket are concerned, it’s hard to give a timeframe. I am 36 years old now and will be 37 next year during the time of the World Cup. At the next World Cup, I will be 41 and I don’t hope that I will be playing then. So the 2015 World Cup will be my last. It’s a kind of natural progression.” But he also said that form, fitness and the enjoyment factor will govern how long he plays Test cricket. Even though Sangakkara was only answering queries of the media, the officials of Sri Lanka Cricket considered it a formal retirement announcement. Jayasuriya, the chief selector said that he felt “very let down” and the secretary of the board publicly lambasted Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

However, after winning the WT20, Sangakkara and Mahela criticized SLC for publicly lambasting them and said that they never formally announced retirement. Sri Lanka Cricket immediately called for disciplinary action against both Sanga and Mahela, which never transpired due to the widespread protest by the general public. In the meantime, Daily Mirror published an article that carried the details of private e-mails exchanged between Mahela Jayawardane, Sanath Jayasuriya (chief selector) and team manager, Michael De Zoysa. The article took a stand that these private conversations were of interest to the readers and hence went ahead with the revelation.

The history of Sangakkara’s ‘retirement’

Sangakkara announced retirement from T20s after World T20 earlier this year

Rumours about Sanga’s retirement again started doing rounds after he had an extended wave at the SSC crowd during Mahela’s innings. Nevertheless, Sanga pacified concerns saying  “We won’t be playing Test cricket in Sri Lanka for a long time from now until probably June,” he said. “Waving the bat was just…. I didn’t have anything in mind. There are two one-day series in Sri Lanka and the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. After the World Cup I will take a decision about my future, after speaking to the national selectors,” Sangakkara has expressed his desire to continue playing Test cricket even after the world cup, provided that his fitness and form remain intact. Speaking on CNN Talk Asia show, Kumar Sangakkara responded to Anna Coren’s query about his retirement, saying, “I have been contemplating it. I have retired from T20 cricket. I am playing two formats of the game.” Anna, a well known Australian journalist responded, “So that’s a yes, we’ve got the scoop?” to which Sanga responded in his typical charismatic laughter. The short video clip ends there and we are left contemplating what Sanga would have said. Fans may have to wait till the programme is aired.

Certain publications in Sri Lanka which write sponsored articles for Sri Lanka Cricket and a journalist who won the sports journalist of the year award in 2013 have been ardently involved in trying to tarnish the image of the two Sri Lankan stalwarts. At least one SLC official has also constantly been harassing Sangakkara, who once said that, “It was a case of one individual carrying out his personal agenda and vendetta against me.”

The astute, eloquent left hander has been Sri Lanka’s front-runner in speaking against corruption within Sri Lanka Cricket. He openly slammed the officials who involved in power games with the players in the much acclaimed lecture he made in 2011.

He was also critical about the board’s secretary, saying in an e-mail, “I believe my commitment to the game and my contribution to it in Sri Lanka both as a player and my work off the field with Sri Lankans in every part of the country each year, more than equals the very noble obligations that you have undertaken and strive to fulfill after being appointed as Secretary of the Board.”

So now it seems that certain individuals in Sri Lanka want to force Sangakkara into a premature retirement which would allow them to march on with their ugly politics and depraved administration with no restraints. This will also allow them to exploit and abuse the rights of the national cricket players.

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