What might be just another T20 game for the world, the Karachi Kings-Quetta Gladiators encounter on February 23 in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will be the thousandth game of professional cricket for former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara.
The Karachi Kings’ captain will be only second Sri Lankan and 16th cricketer overall in history to play in at least as many matches. Mahela Jayawardene is the other Sri Lankan to have appeared on the cricket field for a thousand matches.
The Sri Lankan veteran started his professional career for Nondescripts Cricket Club with an OD game against Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club at Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo on 28th December 1997. The 20-year old Sangakkara later made his first class debut for the same club on 9th January, 1998. It took him two years and an unbeaten 156 for Sri Lanka A in a One Day game vs Zimbabwe A to finally break into the national side for the triangular ODI series with Pakistan and South Africa in July 2000 and from then on, he never looked back. He played his first test for Sri Lanka in the same month.
He has scored the most runs for Sri Lanka in Test matches, One Day Internationals and all formats combined. His international run aggregate of 28016 runs in all formats is only second to Sachin Tendulkar who tops the list with 34357 runs. He has played ODI cricket for three different teams; Sri Lanka, ICC World XI and Asia XI. He is also the top scorer for ICC World XI in ODIs.
He has been well rewarded for his services to cricket as well, earning the man-of-the-match award fifty times and man-of-the-series award ten times during the course of his career. He has been chosen as the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2012, ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year 2011 and 2013, ICC Test Cricketer of the Year 2012, People’s Choice Award 2011 and 2012, Wisden Cricketer of the Year 2012 and 2015 and ODI GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in a fan-based voting conducted by Cricket Australia.
Wilfred Rhodes was the first ever cricketer to play a kilo of professional cricket, all of his 1110 matches being First-Class.