Fresh from his match-winning performance for the Dhaka Dynamites in the Bangladesh Premier League Final, Sri Lankan superstar Kumar Sangakkara is relishing the thought of pulling on the purple for his second season with the 'Canes. Speaking with media ahead of his first training session in Hobart, Sangakkara discussed his recent T20 successes and the BBL season ahead.
"Yeah it's great to be back, I was looking forward to this. It's great to be back in Hobart and to see all the boys again,” Sangakkara said.
"I think we didn't have the best season [in BBL05} that we could have but apart from that I think just being here in Hobart and getting along with all the guys is wonderful.
“To be part of the team, to be accepted and to be welcomed, it's just a great bunch of guys and it's always enjoyable in the dressing room and playing irrespective of the result. Of course, winning makes it better so hopefully this season will be a better one for us."
Despite his final heroics and registering a BPL season average of 30.25 including two half-centuries, Sangakkara is looking forward to making amends for his lukewarm season with the bat in BBL05.
"It's a big part of anyone's motivation to come out and do well, and mine's no different. I think having experienced it [BBL cricket] once before, I will be on a better foot this time. There are no guarantees in cricket though, unfortunately, but I'm really looking forwards to it.
"It was good to be part of that side that won the BPL and it was really nice to have contributions in winning games, so the form's been really good. The wickets are quite different to here in a good way. I think the wickets in Bangladesh are not easy to score off but here the bounce and pace will mean a better time for batsmen when they take off, so I'm looking forward playing on the wickets here and around Australia."
At 39 years of age, the tireless Sangakkara has been enjoying his cricket lately more than ever.
"I've actually been joking with my friends that I've been playing more cricket since I've retired than I was when i was playing for Sri Lanka so it's been good to play that cricket because it keeps you in touch. I've been working hard on my fitness making sure I stay trim and focused and looking forward.
"I think right throughout my career I've been very lucky in the sense of injury. I've been able to look after myself the right way and it's really paid off in allowing me to have a long career.
“I think the older you get, the harder you have to work to maintain it, but there's no complaints from me because I think I'm so lucky to be able to do what I do.”
Now in his second season with Hobart, Sangakkara is more assured of where he stands in the Hurricanes lineup, though a stint with the gloves is unlikely.
"I've batted at 3 in the CPL, opened in the BPL and then batted at 5 in the final, so I think my game is ideally suited to the top order.
"I've been keeping in the BPL but I think Painey's future especially in an Australian sense will probably include the gloves as well, so I think it's great for him to have consistent continuous seasons with the gloves on.
Although the veteran left-hander has a packed summer ahead of him, including stints in the Pakistan Super League, English County Championships and the Caribbean Premier League, Sangakkara is fully devoted to the Hurricanes ahead of what looms as a breakout season for the Hobart club.
"At this moment I'm just going to have a really enjoyable time in the BBL and win some games with the Hurricanes.
“It's a case of understanding that when it comes to playing this type of cricket, you have to stay in that moment, your focus has to be in that game, on that team and playing that particular tournament.
“I think the really important thing is to not look too far ahead in T20 cricket and just ensure that you enjoy your training, enjoy your games and enjoy your performances on the field. I think if you can keep to that, your success rate and your enjoyment of the sport just increases."
Sangakkara will fly to Queensland tomorrow with the Hurricanes squad ahead of their two-match KFC Sunshine Coast Smash pre-season tournament against the Brisbane Heat, before returning for further preparations ahead of the Hurricanes' BBL opener against the Sydney Sixers on December 23 at the SCG.