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Sri Lanka’s Sangakkara to step down from ODI, T20 captaincy


Colombo : Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara Tuesday stepped down from captaincy of the One-day Internationals (ODIs) and the Twenty20 sides, saying it was in the long-term interesst of the national team.

Three days after he led the Sri Lanka team to the World Cup final against India, the 33-year-old Sangakkara met the national selectors and said he was stepping down as ODI and Twenty20 captain, but will continue leading the Test side on an interim basis. Sri Lanka lost the final to finish runners-up for the second consecutive World Cup.

“I met with the selectors on Monday and I explained my reasons for my decision and I assured them of my fullest support in helping our new captain settle into the leadership,” Sangakkara told Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

“In this regard, I have offered to continue as the Test captain for the forthcoming series with England, and possibly Australia, if the selectors believe this would help the new captain and aid the transition. After careful consideration I have concluded that it is in the best long-term interests of the team that I step down now as national captain so that a new leader can be properly groomed for the 2015 World Cup,” he said.

Sangakkara, who will be leading Deccan Chargers in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning Friday, said he made the decision before the World Cup.

“This was a decision I made prior to the World Cup. I will be 37 by the next World Cup and I cannot therefore be sure of my place in the team. It is better that Sri Lanka is led now by a player who will be at the peak of his career during that tournament.”

Sangakkara, however, said he wants to continue playing in all the three formats of the game.

“I have no plans of retirement from international cricket at this stage and, subject to form and fitness, I would like to be considered for selection in all three formats of the game for the foreseeable future.”

Sangakkara said for him, the two-year stint as captain was a great privilege.

“It has been a true honour and a great privilege to serve my country as captain during the past two years,” he said. “Although bitterly disappointed that we could not win the (World Cup) final, I am very proud of the performances of the team. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team-mates and the coaching staff for their hard work and support.”

Sangakkara has scored 8,244 runs in 94 Tests at an average of 57.25 with 24 centuries. He has 9,164 runs with 11 hundreds from 291 one-dayers.