Colombo, Aug 6: India's Test captain Virat Kohli has praised the retiring Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara and revealed he has a "great relationship" with the left-hander, who was "always willing" to help youngsters.
Sangakkara will bid adieu to international cricket after the 2nd Test against India this month. Though it is a 3-match rubber, the 37-year-old had announced in June that he would end his career in the middle of the series.
Kohli, who is leading India for the first time on a full Test tour, said Sangakkara deserves a very good farewell but at the same time he and his team would plan to get his wicket early in both Tests.
"As far as cricket it concerned the plan is to get him out as soon as possible. He would like to leave a big mark on his last few Tests. But otherwise it will take a lot of planning to do something for Sanga, as a visiting team it would take something really special," Kohli told reporters on Wednesday (August 5).
"I can't say anything now, it has to be planned properly, otherwise we might end up offending a lot of people. So we don't want to do that. He deserves the best of farewells, if you ask any left-hander in the world who he idolises, Sangakkara has to be one of the top three people, most of the left-handers, batsmen in general look up to. His record, in cricket, and Test cricket, have been magnificent. He has been such a match-winner for Sri Lanka," he added.
Kohli, who enjoyed a "smashing meal" at Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene's restaurant "Ministry of Crab" on Tuesday (August 4), described the left-hander as a "great man and great cricketer."
"They (Sri Lanka) are going to dearly miss him. I have had a great relationship with him as well. Whenever we have played against each other, we have had conversations and he is someone who will always talk about cricket and always willing to help the younger players around. Great man, great cricketer. So, he deserves a very good farewell. So we will prepare accordingly," the right-hander said.
The first Test of the series starts in Galle on August 12.