Kumar Sangakkara simply loves the South. “Hyderabad is a great place to spend time in,” says the elegant wicket-keeper- batsman, who is the driving force behind his team. Known for his cricketing acumen, flamboyant stroke-play and good looks (Kumar says that he’s surprised to know that women find him hot), the Sri Lankan admits, “It is very flattering.” In an exclusive interview, Kumar talks to CS about the ongoing cricket league, his Wisden honour and sports for community building:
WHO: Kumar Sangakkara
WHAT: Talking about his love for Hyderabad
In the royal city
I love Hyderabad.The rich history of the Nizams of Hyderabad, the lovely food, and the sightseeing spots; all make it a very vibrant city. The crowds everywhere in India are fantastic. They love their team and love to support them. People in the South enjoy cricket to such an extent that they support us through thick and thin. I think that’s very important for the team and we value our fans highly because that’s why we play cricket.
The tournament is about making sure what needs to be done at a particular point of time, and not thinking about what’s gone and what’s coming. We have the potential to win the trophy; I think every team has the potential. The idea is to realise the potential by working hard, preparing well and executing plans on the field.
On a pedestal
Being chosen by Wisden as the Leading Cricketer in the World for 2011 and one of the Five Cricketers of the Year was a great honour. I am very humbled that it was given to me. When I first heard of it, I was very happy, considering that I wasn’t sure about having a particularly special year. It is an inspiration to keep on getting more runs.
A lot of my friends have congratulated me saying that they’re proud of me. It’s really great to have fans writing in as well. It is all very special. But I have a very close group of friends and family members who never make too huge an issue of the good and bad in cricket. That is what helps me in staying balanced.
Sports for the community
I think sports will help us build a new community in post civil war Sri Lanka. Working with children is the best way to serve our country to our fullest potential. Sports build teamwork, community feeling and bring about a collective spirit that results in harmony and unity. The children in the north and east of the country have huge untapped potential, they just need the right opportunities and processes to realise their dreams.
Off the field
The trip to the Buddh International Circuit in Noida was great. I am a great fan of motor-racing, being on the track and driving on it was super fun. Michael Schumacher is my favourite F1 driver. Otherwise, I like to unwind by having a chat with my kids. They are turning three in June. Being with the family is a great way to de-stress.