Sangakkara defends decision to resign

Kumar Sangakkara has said that the Sri Lankan board should choose a long-term captain as his successor and not succumb and give someone a caretaker role.

Updated: April 12, 2011 14:05 IST
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Kolkata: Kumar Sangakkara has said that the Sri Lankan board should choose a long-term captain as his successor and not succumb and give someone a caretaker role. Sangakkara believed both Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews were ready for captaincy but said they should be given longer runs if they are to be successful.

"You have to look long term. Not just what is good for now... If you want to go for Dilshan, give him the confidence for a long term," Sangakkara told ESPNcricinfo. "Don't give the captaincy to Dilshan and say, 'You are just going to be captain for a year and half'. It's not going to be good for him, for he is going to think, 'My days are numbered anyway'. And so it won't be good for the team.

"Both Dilshan and Angie [Angelo] are suitable. If they think Angie is too young then Dilshan will do a good job because he has these little touches for success. Anything he does on the field, he has this little knack. I don't know whether he will be the long-term candidate with his age, but if he keeps himself fit he can easily play the next World Cup.

"Or they can take the plunge with Angelo. That is where the selectors have to really make a call. Pressure will have to be shared, if they make a call and if things don't go well in the first or second year, they will have to be strong that they made a good decision. They will have to put everything in possible to make the captain has everything to do a good job. If it doesn't go well even after that, may be you can re-evaluate. But if the team itself doesn't expect miracles, but expect steady intelligent guy who does things in his own way and good for the team then this could work. To expect too much right away will be a real danger."

Reflecting on his own decision to resign, Sangakkara admitted that it was partly selfish but said that the majority of the decision was based on what he felt was good for Sri Lanka. "No matter how much I try to deny it, there is a lot of "me" in that decision. I have also done what is best for me. But having said that there is also a large part of the decision of what I think is the way forward for the team. The way forward is not as difficult as people make it out to be. Players come players go and so do captains. Yet team progress. That is the natural progression.

"Yes, in this decision there is some selfish part but I also think it's the right decision to make ... power is funny thing especially in subcontinent. I would rather be in a position where I am not tempted to do another year to take that decision that I should have. I am pretty clear in my conscience."

Sangakkara said that despite what happened he still believes the administrators have the good of Sri Lankan cricket in heart but said they should never do anything that affects the players. "You can have your administrative scuffles, what not, but when it should come to playing cricket, players should not get involved with administration unless it's something that directly affects their performance. And Administrators should never cross that line. That way mutual respect will be there. If they can maintain that familiarity and at the same time the professional distance it would be great. It can go wrong. It has gone wrong at times."

Sangakkara said he took the decision three months before the World Cup and that Mahela Jayawardene supported it. "I am not resigning because I am unhappy. I am not resigning because I can't do this anymore. No. I can do this for longer but I don't think it's the right thing for me or for the team. Another World Cup is coming up in four years. We think four years is a long time but suddenly you will realise is two years is already gone and the system hasn't changed. A new guy is appointed with hardly any time to lead the team."

Sangakkara said that the decisions to phase out icons like Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas were the most difficult ones he took as a captain. "It was a very delicate situation because Sanath and Vaasy are legends. At the end of the day you need to be 100% sure you are making the right decision. Personal likes and dislikes have nothing to do with what's best for the team. We are a family, but you have arguments, your problems - that's the way it should be, else nothing constructive is going to work."

Sangakkara said age wasn't the criterion to drop these players and that it was purely about performance and the team combinations. "Sanath and Vaasy missed selection [for the World Cup] by a whisker. It was unbiased: It's not about age. If someone is performing and contributing to the value of the dressing room, nothing else matters. It was a never a case of, oh he is old."

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