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Sri Lanka seek Sangakkara heir

ICC World Cup runners-up Sri Lanka will have a new One Day International captain when they play at Lord’s in 2011 after Kumar Sangakkara stood down.

Sangakkara will not lead the One Day International and Twenty20 sides for the upcoming trip to England which starts in May.

Sri Lanka play their second Test and second ODI at Lord's. Tickets and hospitality packages are still available for both.

All change

Sangakkara has offered to remain as Test captain for the tour, should it be deemed helpful for his successor, and remains available for selection in all formats.

Sangakkara’s vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene has also stepped down while the entire selection board have also resigned early - a month before their contracts were due to end.

Meanwhile, ex-Australia batsman Stuart Law has been appointed as interim coach for the tour after his compatriot Trevor Bayliss stepped down.

Law had been Bayliss’ assistant as Sri Lanka coach since November 2009.

End of an era

Sangakkara said that he had made the decision prior to the 2011 World Cup in order for his replacement to have ample time to bed in.

"I would like to announce that, after careful consideration, I have concluded that it is in the best long-term interests of the team that I step down now as national captain so that a new leader can be properly groomed for the 2015 World Cup in Australia." said the 33-year-old.

"It is better that Sri Lanka is led now by a player who will be at the peak of their career during that tournament.

"I have offered to continue as the Test captain for the forthcoming series with England and possibly Australia if the selectors believe this would help the new captain and aid the transition."

Sangakkara was appointed to the post in 2009, in time for the ICC World Twenty20 competition in England. Sri Lanka were beaten by Pakistan in the final at Lord’s.

He made a controversial decision to abandon the wicket-keeper's gloves in Tests and was rewarded with his most prolific period with the bat. In 14 Tests as skipper he averaged over 70.

Leadership gap?

While there is no replacement in waiting for Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews and Tillakaratne Dilshan have been touted as possible leaders.

Thilan Samaraweera is a possible candidate for the Test captaincy though he may struggle to secure a lace in the ODI and T20 teams.

At 34 years old Dilshan and Samaraweera are both older than Sangakkara and may be considered a risk as long term successors.

All-rounder Mathews, just 23, is at the other end of the spectrum though and is still establishing himself in the Test arena.

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