Sanga to Durham, Adams to Sri Lanka

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Kumar Sangakkara has agreed a short-term contract with English County Championship side Durham to play two matches for them in the lead up to Sri Lanka’s tour of England, whilst the national side have appointed former Surrey coach Chris Adams as a consultant for that tour.


Sangakkara will miss Sri Lanka’s ODIs against Ireland on the 6th and 8th of May to play in the two matches for Durham – against Yorkshire and Sussex, and will rejoin the Sri Lankan squad on May 14th.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to county cricket with Durham and I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity,” Sangakkara said. “I actually made my debut for Warwickshire against Durham back in 2007 – I scored a few runs that day so I’m hoping to make amends this time around.”

Sangakkara had sought a short-term county contract in order to acclimatise to England’s early summer conditions and the Duke ball, but had to wait on clearance from the national selectors, and a no-objection certificate from the board, before confirming the deal with Durham.

Last week, chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya had said he had hoped up to six Sri Lanka players would travel to England early in order to undertake early-season Duke-ball training, but that those plans had been upset by the departure of Paul Farbrace, who was expected to have facilitated the extra training time. At present, it appears only Sangakkara has secured a county stint – and that, only after significant effort.

Sanga is looking to improve on his average in England, which is the one black spot on an otherwise glittering career.  He averages 30.58 from 9 Tests in England – which contrasts sharply to his career average of 58.  However, the vast majority of these matches have been played in May, when conditions in England are at their most difficult for batting.  In his last match in England – which started on the 16th June – he scored a century.

Meanwhile, Chris Adams, the former England batsman and Surrey coach, has been appointed as a consultant for the tour, as Sri Lanka look for someone with experience in English conditions to help out interim coach Marvan Atapattu.

One of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year in 2004, Adams had been a highly successful captain at Sussex, whom he led to their first County Championship title in 2003, then again in 2006 and 2007, as well as to limited-overs titles. Known for his bruising strokeplay, Adams had hit 19,535 first-class runs at 38.68.

He will be hoping to help Sri Lanka outwit an England side coached by Peter Moores who Adams formed a strong partnership with at Sussex as captain and coach. Moores, subsequently also a Championship winner with Lancashire, was reappointed as England coach last week – having previously held that position between 2007 and 2009.

Sri Lanka will hope Adams’ local knowledge, gleaned over 20 years as a player and five as a coach, will aid them in their travels, particularly in the Tests at Lords and Headingley. They play one T20I, five ODIs and two Tests against England, starting on May 22.


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