Kumar Sangakkara officially ended his career as an international cricketer to rapturous applause from fans, family and well-wishers on Monday. The cheer was led by Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena, who offered the iconic cricketer the post of Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to United Kingdom.(Match Report | Scorecard | Highlights)
In a special ceremony to bid Sangakkara farewell after India won the second Test to level the three-Test series 1-1, Sirisena hailed the cricketer's contribution both on and off the field.(Ashwin Credits 'Stability')
"He has been a great face for our country and it gives me immense pleasure in offering him the post of High Commissioner to the UK," President Sirisena said.(Kohli Salutes Sangakkara)
The words were received by thousands of fans around P Sara Oval with great enthusiasm. Sangakkara - ever the gentleman though - smiled his gratitude without taking an immediate call on the offer. Sangakkara has played for English County Surrey this season.(Sangakkara Acknowledges Years of Love and Support)
The Sri Lankan President though was hardly the only one hailing the veteran player who featured in 134 Tests and 404 ODIs.(Gavaskar Hails Sangakkara)
The long list of dignitaries included Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar - apart from Sangakkara's family and other noted figures.('Sangakkara Messy, Want him Back Home')
Gavaskar - being the only Indian on the podium - took it upon himself to congratulate Sangakkara and thank him for his key role in international cricket.(Sangakkara Gets Guard of Honour)
"It has been a great pleasure watching you play all these years and I truly wish you the best for the future. On a light note, I also extend an invitation to join us in the former cricketer's club," said Gavaskar, much to the loud and youthful amusement of Sangakkara.(Sangakkara Felicitated by BCCI)
Virat Kohli - on behalf of the Indian team - presented a signed jersey and congratulated him for an excellent career.
Sangakkara - in an emotional farewell speech - made it a point to thank the Indian cricketers for a "tough" fight in the second Test.
"I would like to thank Virat and his team for all the kind words. More though, I would like to thank them for a tough fight in this Test. I couldn't have asked for more as losses don't matter, good cricket does," said the 38-year-old superstar.