Sangakkara asked to delay Test retirement

Saturday 29th November 2014 14:50 EST

Sri Lanka's selectors urged Kumar Sangakkarahim to reconsider his decision to retire from all formats after the 2015 World Cup. Sangakkara told the selectors he would quit internationals in April but he is now rethinking about his decision upon request from the selectors, among others. He has repeatedly said he would not play ODIs beyond the World Cup, and that is unlikely to change.

Opposition to Sangakkara's retirement has been founded on the argument that the team would be substantially better served if Sangakkara remained in the Test side until it was more settled. Sri Lanka have yet to play a Test since Mahela Jayawardene's retirement and, if Sangakkara had also quit following the forthcoming New Zealand Tests as he had planned, both of the side's leading batsmen would have become unavailable within the space of two series.

The selectors have also viewed Sangakkara and Jayawardene as mentors for the young players within the side. With several top-order spots still contested in Tests, and the younger generation of batsmen yet to produce consistent runs at the top level, Sangakkara's continued presence in the side was seen as vital to the team's successful transition. Captain Angelo Mathews is among those who would like him to continue in Tests, having also asked Jayawardene to play for another year.

Sangakkara had been considering retirement for some weeks before the meeting on Thursday. In his last Test match, against Pakistan in July, he had made the uncharacteristic gesture of waving his bat as he exited the field after his second-innings 59, sparking speculation about retirement. He subsequently played down those rumours, but stopped short of suggesting he would play another Test in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's 2015 Test schedule has not been finalised but, beyond the New Year Test in Wellington, it is likely to include home Test series against Pakistan, India and West Indies, as well as a further away series against New Zealand.

Sangakkara's Test-match form remains excellent, having maintained an average of 78.21 in 2014, and leading the run-scorer list by some distance from Younis Khan. He hit his first triple-century in February this year, and has made three figures at Lord's and Galle, where he hit 221 against Pakistan.

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