Former Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara has hailed Dinesh Chandimal’s captaincy after Sri Lanka completed a stunning 2-0 series win over Pakistan in Dubai on Tuesday (October 10). It was Pakistan’s first series defeat since the gulf became their adopted home in 2010. Pakistan had never lost a home Test series since 2007.

Source: Cricbuzz

Chandimal, in his first away series as captain, scripted Sri Lanka’s 21-run win in Abu Dhabi and captained the side well as Sri Lanka held their nerves in tough situations. He scored an unbeaten 155 in the first Test, batting for over nine hours, and produced a half-century in the second Test.

“It was a well deserved win. The team showed focus and put in lot of hard work. Great leadership from Chandimal and others like Rangana and Dilruwan,”

Sangakkara told Cricbuzz. “The way Chandimal absorbed the pressure in the first Test putting his ego aside was great to watch.

“People say that he was too slow, but come on, this is Test cricket. That is how you play Test cricket. He took Sri Lanka into a dominant position and it gave the team time to bowl them out.

“His captaincy was excellent. The way he manoeuvered the field was superb when Pakistan were chasing. The responsibility he took to bat long and deep was great to watch,” Sangakkara further said.

The former Sri Lanka captain had taken Chandimal under his wings when he broke into the side. Chandimal’s debut Test series was in South Africa in 2011 and coach Geoff Marsh had split the players into small groups of two – one senior and one junior. Accordingly, Mahela Jayawardene was put with Lahiru Thirimanne, Tillakaratne Dilshan with Dimuth Karunaratne and Sangakkara with Chandimal.

In an effort meant for team bonding, the seniors were supposed to take the younger player out for dinner and for coffee regularly. The experience was useful for the younger players. Chandimal cut his teeth under Sangakkara and has looked up to him ever since.

“With Chandi, I didn’t have to do a lot. He was just tremendous. I used to talk to him on stuff like how to bat for long and when to accelerate and when to slow down. Passing on tips like how to go from your 40s to 100,”

Sangakkara explained.

“Chandi to me is an excellent batsman. Unfortunately he was in and out of the side and his confidence was ruined. He started doubting himself. I have watched him bat in places like England, Australia and South Africa and he was tremendous. His record is excellent. He is a superb ODI player too. He has now started taking more responsibility and his knock in Abu Dhabi showed what he is capable of,”

Sangakkara elaborated.

“Chandi should not only just play Test cricket, but he should be part of the team in all three formats. He should be batting at number three or number four; would be ideal for him. He is the guy for us if we are looking long term. Unfortunately he has lost about three years of his cricket but we are yet to see the best out of him. Hopefully he will go onto make 10,000 runs in Test cricket.”