Colombo: The Indian cricket team led by captain Virat Kohli and Team Director Ravi Shastri paid rich tributes to retiring Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara, comparing his illustrious career to that of Sir Donald Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar.
The 37-year-old Sangakkara will be playing his 134th and last Test at the P Sara Oval against India, starting Thursday.
In his international career spanning over 15 years, Sangakkara has so far scored 12,350 Test runs with 38 centuries and an average of 57.71. In 404 ODIs, he has scored 14,234 runs with 25 tons and a staggering 93 half-centuries.
Kohli termed Sangakkara as a "lovely human being" and stated how glad he was that the master batsman was playing his last international series against India.
"I can imagine the kind of emotions he (Sangakkara) might feel because this is something that he has probably done for the last 20 years day in and day out of everyday life. And, not to do that anymore would be a big shock for anyone," Kohli told BCCI.TV as he gears up to plan Sangakkara's dismissal one last time in international matches.
"He has been a wonderful player for Sri Lanka. A lot of left-handers really look up to him for the way he plays. His technique and the way he has scored runs all over the world, his numbers speak for themselves. He is a wonderful human being. He is a lovely person.
"I have had quite a few chats with him on the field & away from the field as well. I am actually glad that he is going to be playing his last few games against us because it is a special occasion for us to be a part of. Such a legend of the game retiring, as a young side it will be an honour for us to give him that respect in his last few Tests," he added.
"Hopefully he doesn't score too many runs against us but I really wish him all the luck with his life after cricket. It has been wonderful to know such a great player and a great man," the top-order batsman said.
Shastri compared Sangakkara to Tendulkar, in terms of staying at the top of their game throughout their illustrious careers.
"He broke into being one of the top two or three players and he never got out of that. There are very few players who fall in that list. You can bring Sachin Tendulkar in that league as the kind of player that once broke into the top two or three never moved out of there. He has got runs world over and scored double hundreds like it is a pass time. He is equal with Sir Donald Bradman."