The period between 2000-2015 witnessed the reign of Sri Lankan star Kumar Sangakkara.
The classical wicket-keeper batsman ended up as the second-highest run-scorer in world cricket, only after batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.
In 594 international games across all formats, Sangakkara amassed 28,016 runs at a stupendous average of 46.77. Further, the Sri Lankan wizard notched up 63 tons and 153 half-centuries in his career.
During a recent ‘Q/A’ session organized by Marylebone Cricket Club’s Twitter handle, the Lankan veteran was quizzed about the toughest bowler faced in his career.
There, he named the ‘Sultan of Swing’, Wasim Akram and legendary Indian pacer, Zaheer Khan.
“Wasim Akram was a nightmare to face. Zaheer Khan, I faced many times and was extremely difficult also,” Sanga said during the session.
In his 15-year long illustrious career, Sanga faced bowlers across generations. When Sanga was finding his feet at the highest level, Akram was going through the twilight of his career.
Moreover, the careers of Sanga and Zaheer coincided perfectly. The two were regarded as the masters of their respective trades in the by-gone era.
The duels between Sangakkara and Zaheer were one of the eagerly anticipated ones during the frequent ties between India and Sri Lanka.
The left-hander shepherded the Lankan top-order with his class, while Zaheer spearheaded the Indian bowling line-up.
During various bilateral series as well as crucial multilateral tournaments such as the Asia Cup, Champions Trophy and World Cup, the two often engaged in a game of cat and mouse.
One of the iconic moments came during the 2011 ODI World Cup final when Sanga narrowly survived a supreme opening spell of fast bowling from Zak. It was a shame that the iconic game was recently marred with speculations of match-fixing by the former Sri Lankan sports minister.
However, their riveting encounters only went on to prove the abundance of masterclass possessed by the subcontinental cricketers, improving the standards of the sport by multi-folds.