When former Indian captain MS Dhoni hit the winning runs to lift the 2011 World Cup, all the then Sri Lankan captain, Kumar Sangakkara, could do was smile.
The Lankans posted a competitive total of 275 in front of the Indian team in the World Cup final at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
But Gautam Gambhir and Dhoni managed to chase down the total with ease as the latter finished the game with his trademark style of hitting a six off the final delivery.
Now, Sangakkara opened up about the smile in the background with Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh celebrating the victory in the middle.
The greatest testimony received by the Indian team post the final was from Sangakkara where he claimed that “When you look at the Indian batting lineup, even 350 isn’t enough”.
Such was the sportsman spirit which the Sri Lankan captain possessed, proving to be one of the greatest ambassadors of the game.
“I think, in my life, living in Sri Lanka, there are lots of things that bring you down. There are lots of things that you worry about. 30 years we have had wars, we have had natural disasters in 2005. We have so many different issues but one of the greatest things about Sri Lankans is resilience. It is just inborn in us. When we play, we want to win, we are extremely competitive,” Sangakkara told Ravichandran Ashwin on his Instagram Live show ‘Reminisce with Ash’.
In Sanga’s words, the smile hid the sadness and disappointment of losing the final, reflecting on the sorrow it brought to the Sri Lankan population.
“Whether we win or lose, we have this equilibrium on how to take a win or loss. The smile hides a huge amount of sadness, of disappointment, of thinking of 20 million people back in Sri Lanka who had been waiting for this for so long, since 1996,” added the legendary wicket-keeper batsman.
“We had an opportunity in 2011, opportunity in 2007, then T20 opportunities in 2009 and 2012. So sometimes, the best way to take victory or defeat is to understand that that’s the way life is. Not every single thing goes your way. But the important thing is to be able to take that the same way,” concluded Sangakkara.
However, in the twilight of his career, Sangakkara brought joy to the fans back home by winning the 2014 T20 World Cup in the final against the same opponents, India.