He captained the Sri Lanka national cricket team in all three formats and is widely regarded as one of the greatest wicket-keeper-batsmen ever and the 2nd highest run scorer of all time. Sangakkara was officially rated in the top three current batsmen in the world in all three formats of the game at various stages of his career. He is the current coach of the Rajasthan Royals IPL team. Sangakkara scored 28,016 runs in international cricket across all formats in a career that spanned 15 years. At retirement, he was the second-highest run-scorer in ODI cricket, next only to Sachin Tendulkar, and the sixth-highest run scorer in Test cricket. Sangakkara's 134 not out against England in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy is the current high score made by a Sri Lankan at any tournaments.
As a player, Sangakkara was a left-handed top-order brilliant batsman and was also a wicket-keeper for a large proportion of his career. Sangakkara holds many Test records, having been the fastest, or joint-fastest (in terms of innings) to various run milestones in Test cricket. Sangakkara's partnership with Mahela Jayawardene was the second most prolific in the history of Test cricket. Additionally, he holds the record for the most wicket keeping dismissals in ODI cricket.
Sangakkara won the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2012 and won many other awards for both Test and ODI cricket. He was selected as Leading Cricketer in the World in the 2012 and 2015 editions of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, becoming the second player to have won this award twice. Sangakkara was rated as the Greatest ODI player of all time in a public poll conducted by Cricket Australia in 2016. He won the Man of the Match in the finals of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 tournament and was part of the team that made the final of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, 2011 Cricket World Cup, 2009 ICC World Twenty20 and 2012 ICC World Twenty20. He won the Man of the Match award in the final of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, where he helped Sri Lanka win their first title.
In 2019, he was appointed President of the MCC, the first non-British person to be appointed to the position since the club was founded in 1787. He was the youngest person and the first active international player to deliver the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, which was widely praised by the cricketing community for its outspoken nature. In June 2021, he was inducted to the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and became the second Sri Lankan to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame after Muttiah Muralitharan.
Sangakkara was born in Matale, Central Province, near the city of Kandy, in 1977. He grew up in Kandy with three siblings and his parents.
Sangakkara received his education at Trinity College, Kandy. During his school days, he was a chorister and played the violin.
Sangakkara excelled in many sports, and his college principal encouraged him to focus on cricket. He represented his school's Under-13, Under-15, Under-17, Under-19 and first XI squads and was awarded his school's The Trinity Lion award and Ryde Gold Medal. He got selected to represent Sri Lanka A cricket team's tour to South Africa in 1999–00. His knock of an unbeaten 156 against the Zimbabwe A team during a one-day match helped him secure a place in the Sri Lankan national cricket team later that year.
Sanga was the Senior Prefect (Head Boy) of school and entered the Law Faculty of the University of Colombo, but he was unable to finish his degree initially due to his cricketing commitments. He later completed his master's degree in law from the university.
His parents sheltered Tamil families during the Black July riots in 1983.
Sangakkara in 2009
At the age of 22, Sangakkara made his Test debut on 20 July 2000, in the first of three-match series against South Africa. Sri Lanka won the match and in his side's only innings Sangakakra batted at the fall of the third wicket and scored 23 runs before he was dismissed leg before wicket by spin bowler Nicky Boje. He had made his ODI debut 2 weeks earlier, scoring 35 before being run out in his One-day cricket debut against Pakistan. He then received his first man of the match award in the 2nd match of the Singer Triangular Series, 2000, scoring 85 runs against South Africa. He ended the series with 199 runs, at an average of 66.33, securing his place for the upcoming Test series against South Africa. Before reaching his first Test century, he was twice dismissed in the 90s, once against each of South Africa and England. In August 2001, India toured Sri Lanka for three Tests and in the opening match Sangakkara scored his first century. His innings of 105 not out at number three helped set up a ten-wicket victory for Sri Lanka. Later that year Sangakkara scored his second Test century, this time in the first of three matches against the touring West Indians.