After wearing the wicket-keeper gloves for more than 15 years, Kumar Sangakkara will now don the hat of a mentor for Team Abu Dhabi in the second season of Abu Dhabi T10. And the Sri Lanka cricket legend has a clear plan.
Even with the likes of batting legend Chris Gayle, former South African pacer Chris Morris, and Englishman Alex Hales, Sangakkara believes it will be the blend of experience and young blood that will make Team Abu Dhabi a strong unit
“We have some superstar players in our team, but we also have some competent young players from around the world. It’s really about how well we can put together a side that compliments each other and that can withstand match-ups against its opposition,” said Kumar Sangakkara, who won the World T20 title with Sri Lanka in 2014.
One of the greatest wicket keeper-batsman of all time, Kumar Sangakkara struck fear in the hearts of bowlers whenever he took the crease. The former Sri Lanka captain scored more than 28,000 runs on the international stage but was quick to value the importance of a good bowling attack in winning a match and considers bowlers to be the difference-makers in the fast-paced ten-over format of Abu Dhabi T10.
“As in the T20 format, your bowling line-up has to do a lot of work in terms of winning games (in the T10 format),” Sangakarra said. “Yes, a team needs to have the runs on the board and the ability to score them but more often than not, the sides that have the variety and smarts in their bowling line-ups, usually win the shorter formats of the tournament, especially in pressure situations.”
At Team Abu Dhabi, Kumar Sangakkara also aims to instill a risk-taking mentality in the players from the word go in the T10 format.
“As a mentor, it’s basically about getting players to understand that there’s no reward without risk, what are the calculative risks to be taken and the players need to have an open and creative mind, right from ball one to be able to do well in the T10 format,” Kumar Sangakkara explained.
“We would like to play an exciting brand of cricket, put down everything on the line in terms of effort, planning, strategy, and tactics and hopefully that will be enough to win.”
For their first match of Abu Dhabi T10 Season 2, Team Abu Dhabi will go up against the Deccan Gladiators at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on January 29.