Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara has officially hosed down any suggestion he would come out of international retirement to aid his country’s Champions Trophy campaign.
Moments prior to Sri Lanka’s must-win Group B match against India at The Oval, Sangakkara laughed off a possible return to national duties despite suspension and injury rocking his former teammates.
"No, definitely not," Sangakkara said when asked by his co-commentators if he was tempted by a possible return for Sri Lanka.
"Number one, I'm too old, you've seen my grey hair. I'm terrible on the field and in the cold my performance would drop about 40 per cent.
"In no way or form am I fit to play but like you said you can stay away from the game for a while, but it's hard to take the Sri Lankan out of the Sri Lankan."
While he might be too old at 39, Sangakkara’s stunning form for English county club Surrey would suggest age is just a number.
The elegant left-hander is in a purple patch few batters have experienced having scored five first-class centuries in row for Surrey this season – his last ton a divine 200 in the first innings against Essex.
In the second innings of that match at Chelmsford, Sangakkara fell 16 runs short of becoming just the fourth player in history to post six consecutive first-class centuries.
Sri Lanka skipper, Angelo Mathews, joked at the toss on Thursday he’s continually asking Sangakkara if he’d like to return to the international arena.
But the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman, who announced he will retire from first-class cricket at season’s end, is content in retirement.
"He's just a freak," Mathews said prior to the tournament after Sangakkara scored his fifth-straight ton.
"He keeps scoring hundreds and hundreds.
"He's got the Surrey record as well and I'm pretty sure he's going to break many more records in his last season."
Sri Lanka made three changes for the Champions Trophy clash against India after their resounding loss to South Africa.
Mathews returns to the side in place of stand-in skipper Upal Tharanaga, who was suspended for two matches for maintaining a slow over-rate against the Proteas.
Batsman Chamara Kapugedera has been ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury and has been replaced by a left-hander – not Sangakkara – in 26-year-old Danushka Gunathilaka.
Allrounder Thisara Perera comes into the playing XI to compensate for Mathews, who is unable to bowl.
Champions Trophy 2017 Guide
Squads: Every Champions Trophy nation
2 June – New Zealand v Australia, No Result
4 June – India beat Pakistan by 124 runs
5 June – Australia v Bangladesh, No Result
6 June – England beat New Zealand by 87 runs
8 June – India v Sri Lanka, The Oval (D)
9 June – New Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (D)
10 June – England v Australia, Edgbaston (D)
11 June – India v South Africa, The Oval (D)
12 June – Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)
14 June – First semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)
15 June – Second semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)
18 June – Final, The Oval (D)
19 June – Reserve day (D)