Hong Kong T20 Blitz

Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara signs for Galaxy Gladiators Lantau in Hong Kong T20 Blitz

The 39-year-old is the second big-name player to be announced and will provide a wealth of experience and world-class skill

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 7:04pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 12:43pm

The gloves are off among franchises battling for supremacy at the Hong Kong T20 Blitz, with Galaxy Gladiators Lantau on Wednesday announcing the signing of Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara for the March 8-12 tournament.

Just two days after Kowloon Cantons unveiled Pakistani star Shahid Afridi, Gladiators have responded with an equally stellar name in Sangakkara – the former Sri Lankan test captain who helped his team to the World T20 title in 2014.

And tournament organisers Cricket Hong Kong expect more high-profile players to be announced for the other three franchise over the next few days.

“I am delighted to be associated with the Galaxy Gladiators Lantau and I look forward to playing with the young and upcoming talent of Hong Kong as well as catching up with all the amazing cricket fans,” said 39-year-old Sangakkara, admired in the cricket world not only for his batting and wicketkeeping but also for his eloquence.

Watch: Kumar Sangakkara interview

With Cantons and Gladiators having announced their key signings, it is left to City Kaitak, Hong Kong Island United and Hung Hom JD Jaguars to unveil their big-name stars.

Sangakkara played 134 tests, scoring 12,400 runs at an average of 57.40 with 38 centuries. In one-day matches, he scored 25 centuries in his 14,234 runs. He has represented Sri Lanka in 56 T20 matches, hitting 1,382 runs.

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Sangakkara represented Sri Lanka 594 times across all three formats of the game and is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen in the modern era. He is the first of five overseas players to join the Galaxy Gladiators and will provide a wealth of experience to the young squad.

He is currently with Hobart Hurricanes in Australia’s Big Bash League and will join Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League before arriving for the Hong Kong tournament at Tin Kwong Road.

In a joint statement, team owners Ankit Khandelwal and Gaurav Dhariwal said: “It’s an honour to have such an experienced sports star on board. It will be amazing for the youngsters and players from other teams to have such a great legend playing amidst the teams.”

Cricket Hong Kong CEO Tim Cutler said: “We are absolutely delighted to have a true icon of the game in Kumar Sangakkara come to play in the Blitz.

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“One of the great batsman-keepers to grace the sport’s history. The fact he is still playing in the elite T20 leagues around the world only proves his versatility to have performed on the world stage over 17 years.

“I am very excited for the Hong Kong cricket-loving public who will get to watch one of the true gentlemen of the sport ply his wares, live and up close at Tin Kwong Road.”