Sangakkara refused Kings XI Punjab captaincy on ‘several occasions’

When journalist interview cricketers it usually sounds like they are trying to score points with the player, or trying not to lose the chance of getting their hands on another to interview in the future; the questions too are often mundane.

This interview – to my surprise – was actually pretty good. It was not only because the responses were not Kumar Sangakkara’s standard, suave and diplomatic responses? But because they seemed honest, straight forward and uncharacteristically forthright.

To be honest, it was the first time I’ve seen an opportunity given to cricket fans to ask a Sri Lankan player a question. I admit I do not know whose idea it was, but kudos to those at Island Cricket for pulling it off and a heartfelt thanks to the Sri Lankan skipper for stepping down from that high horse and actually agreeing to it.

To a question from Abishek Rao from India, Sangakkara replied, "The reality is that I was offered the captaincy at the end of last year and on several occasions I refused it."

"Finally, after many discussions with the franchise owners and CEO, as well as Yuvi, I came to understand that my acceptance was necessary this year for the team to go forward. So in the end I had little option but to take the captaincy."

He was referring to captaining the Kings XI Punjab side at the IPL this year. According to Sangakkara, he refused to captain the side when he was approached on ‘several occasions’ by the Kings XI franchise in late 2009; he does not mention why he refused.

It’s not hard to understand why they did approach him as early as 2009. Sangakkara led Sri Lanka to the finals of T20 cricket’s most coveted tournament, the ICC WT20, 2009, in England.

Adding more to his response to Rao’s question, Sangakkara said he was disappointed that having taken the responsibility of leading Punjab, his side fared badly .

"Our performances were the direct result of us not being able to coordinate our batting and bowling departments to complement each other. We were inconsistent throughout and our bowling was too weak. We did not close down a handful of games we should have won and that was very frustrating," he added.

Having lost 10 matches out of 14, Kings XI Punjab finished IPL 2010 at the bottom of the points table.

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