2. Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Chokshanada Sangakkara (born 27 October 1977) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain, and is widely regarded as one of the world’s most influential cricketers and one of the greatest batsmen of all-time. Sangakkara has forged many formidable partnerships with long time team mate and friend, Mahela Jayawardene and holds numerous batting records in the modern era across all formats of the game. Sangakkara scored 28,016 runs in international cricket across all formats in a career that spanned 15 years.
A left-handed top-order batsman, he is also a record-breaking wicket-keeper, although he no longer kept wicket at the end of his Test career. Currently, he is the second-highest run-scorer in ODI cricket and the fifth-highest run scorer in Test cricket.
Sangakkara is described as one of the “most polished and prudent of batsmen” in cricket. He has dominated the number one spot in the ICC Test batting rankings between 2005 and 2015. On 12 August 2015, Sangakkara was placed at number 5 in the ICC Test rankings.
Sangakkara was a key member of the team that won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 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 the team win their first title.
In terms of a number of innings required, Sangakkara is the fastest batsman to reach 8,000, 9,000, 11,000 and 12,000 runs in Test cricket. He is also joint fastest to 10,000. He won the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2012, Test Cricketer of the Year in 2012, and ODI Cricketer of the Year multiple times in 2011 and 2013. He has also won the LG People’s Choice Award twice, in 2011 and 2012. Sangakkara has regularly featured in the World Test XI and World ODI XI, appearing six times and three times in them, respectively. He was selected as Leading Cricketer in the World in the 2015 edition of Wisden.
He was named the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 2011 and 2015. He is one of two players to have won this award twice, along with Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who won the award in 2008 and 2009. Sangakkara was rated as the Greatest ODI player of all time in a public poll conducted by Cricket Australia in 2016.
On 29 January 2015, Sangakkara became Sri Lanka’s highest ever ODI run scorer, surpassing the previous record of 13,430 runs held by Sanath Jayasuriya. In the same match, he also broke the record for ODI wicketkeeping dismissals, breaking the previous record of 472 held by Adam Gilchrist.
He surely will be missed and will go in the books as the best batsman the face of cricket has ever seen.