Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara retired after playing his final test cricket match against India the other day. The accolades are rolling in—the Sri Lankan president offered him the post of High Commissioner (ambassador, sort of) to the United Kingdom—and everybody is weighing in on his legacy and place in history.
The International Cricket Council chief executive said Sangakkara’s career “puts himself in the higher echelons of players to ever grace the game” and the Sydney Morning Herald called him “the greatest batsman Sri Lanka has ever produced.” Cricket Country helpfully listed 15 important cricket records Sangakkara owns. Earlier this year, the writers of cricket.com.au rated Sangakkara the third best cricketer of the 21st century, while the fans voted him second.
The one guy who is thoroughly unimpressed by Sangakkara, however? His father, Kshema Sangakkara, who wrote a blistering takedown of his son’s career in The Indian Express. The younger Sangakkara has the 10th-best test cricket batting record in history, but that doesn’t mean much to his father:
Everybody speaks about his average being in the same league of Graeme Pollock and Garry Sobers, but Kumar could have done better. He too often let bowlers dismiss him rather than them having to get him out.
For me, Don Bradman was the ultimate batsman. He scored a century once in every three innings. If you truly consider yourself to be a world-class batsman, you should be able to do that. Kumar did well, don’t get me wrong.
But did he achieve his true potential? I don’t think so.
Sangakkara may have been an amazing batsman, but his father is more concerned with his struggles with spinners. In fact, the only reason Sangakkara improved at them is because his father pestered him to:
Kumar never used his feet to the spinners though, and he wasn’t comfortable against them early in his career. He did get better at it. But he took too long to get there. It also took a lot of pestering from me, often to his chagrin. Even now at times, I feel he gets too leaden-footed.
And just read this commentary on Sangakkara’s greatest performances:
There are some of Kumar’s innings that I remember fondly though not all of them. His 192 in a losing cause against Australia in Hobart always gets talked about a lot. It was my favourite knock. It was alright. His four centuries in four matches in the World Cup was a good achievement too.
“It was my favourite knock. It was alright.” He even has to cut down the best performance of one of the better cricketers in history! Sangakkara became the first player ever to score four centuries in a row at the World Cup, and the most his father can muster is that it was a “good achievement.”
And how did his father feel when Sangakkara told him about his retirement? Meh.
There wasn’t much sorrow or anguish when he informed me about his decision to retire. We both agreed that his time was up, and that there was no point hanging around for much longer.
Sports are littered with overbearing parents—Earl Woods, the Lindroses, Mike Agassi—but jeez, this sure is something else. I’m just glad my dad has yet to take to the pages of SB Nation to denounce the quality of my dick jokes.