New Lanka captain Sangakkara eyes Twenty20 World Cup

March 12th, 2009 - 8:06 pm ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, March 12 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s newly appointed cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara said his immediate focus would be on the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup that begins in June in England.

The wicket-keeper batsman had been a vice-captain since 2006 and was officially named Sri Lanka’s new captain Thursday afternoon. Muttiah Muralitharan has been appointed the vice-captain. Their first assignment will be the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 in England.

“It is a huge honour and great privilege to be given the captaincy of the Sri Lanka cricket team. I had no hesitation is accepting the responsibility when the chairman of selectors offered me the job. I am very excited by the challenge ahead,” Sangakkara said.

Sangakkara takes over from Mahela Jayawardene, his close friend and team-mate. Jayawardene, who had been the captain for a decade, stepped down immediately after the aborted two-Test tour to Pakistan early this month saying his successor needs at least 18 months to prepare the team for the 2011 world cup.

“Taking over from such a great player and a successful captain like Mahela is a great feeling. My immediate focus is on the Twenty20 World Cup and build a strong team for it,” Sangakkara told IANS Thursday.

“As we prepare for this and the year ahead, I will be stressing to the players the individual responsibility they must take on to improve and develop their games,” he said.

Claiming that he and the outgoing captain “saw eye-to-eye on many things” on and off the field, Sangakkara, from the Central Kandy district said he would “now continue on the same road trying to help bring Sri Lanka consistent success in all forms of the game”.

The 31-year-old stylish left-hander is one of the world’s finest wicket-keeper batsmen, having scored over 6,000 runs in both versions of the game.

Holding averages of 54.99 in Tests and 36.31 in One-day internationals, Sangakkara has taken over 380 catches and effected 80 stumpings in both versions of the game.

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