Three days of engaging cricket from both sides ended, depressingly, with handshakes at 5.25pm. But whatever sorrow filled the air was engulfed by a deeper dismay when Kumar Sangakkara, with a century in each innings, announced that this would be his final season in the County Championship.
He has a couple of contracts to honour this year, including a stint in the Caribbean Premier League with Jamaica Tallawahs. “The mercenary in me is still alive,” he joked, when pressed on whether he might be around for a T20 gig or two. “No one wants an old dog just playing for the sake of it. All in all, I’ll have a few more months but that’ll be it.” So begins the farewell tour.
“You need to get out while you are ahead,” was Sangakkara’s response when he was implored to reconsider – by the press, no less. What world is this where a man can become the fourth Surrey batsman to score four centuries in four consecutive innings (Ian Ward was the last to do it in 2002), pass 20,000 first-class runs with two centuries in a match and sit pretty on 592 in just four Championship games this season and think he’s done? Sport and indeed life, as it happens. “This really is it. Look – I’m 39. I’ll be 40 in a few months. I think this is about the end of county cricket [for me] in the four-day and any sense, really.
“The biggest mistake you can make is to think you are better than you are and you try to fight the inevitable. When you start a season like this, there is a long way to go. You have to enjoy the good times. All good things come to an end. Cricketers and any other sportsperson have an expiry date. I’ve been very lucky to plays as much as I have and I’m not taking anything for granted, but and there’s a lot of life to be lived away from the game.”