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Kumar Sangakkara looking towards CPL campaign with Jamaica Tallawahs

Kumar Sangakkara looking towards CPL campaign with Jamaica Tallawahs
Kumar Sangakkara was one of the six marquee players in the tournament.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara says that he is excited to return to the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with the Jamaica Tallawahs for the upcoming season which gets underway on 29th June.

In 2013, Sangakkara was involved with the CPL and played for the Jamaica Tallawahs in their victorious campaign.

This year, Sangakkara was announced as one of the six marquee players in the CPL and was picked by the Tallawahs in the draft.

Recalling the 2013 campaign, Sangakkara said that it was great fun to play Twenty20 cricket in the Caribbean and is eager for another stint with the Jamaica Tallawahs.

"I remember going into the Tallawahs knowing that it was a great team with Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and (Chadwick) Walton all in there," he said.

"We had some great overseas player in Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) and a few others.

"And just going to the semis and the finals, and the business end of the tournament. So there’s no pressure on me to go out there and perform!

"I just remember getting to Trinidad, where the matches were, and just absorbing the atmosphere.

"It was exactly what you’d expect of a T20 tournament in the West Indies.

"It was just, you know, a lot of passionate followers, a lot of people having fun and West Indies followers know a lot about cricket.

"They know their cricket very, very well. And it was just the most exciting atmosphere to play in.

"It helped that we won the semis and the final.

"Paul Nixon was coach at that time and it was a great dressing room, a lot of fun, relaxed cricket but a lot of good cricket.

"So I’m really looking forward to going back."

Over the past few seasons, the CPL has grown in stature and is widely dubbed as the "biggest party in cricket" with an engaging mix of glamour and quality T20 cricket.

Sangakkara reasoned that it was due to the quality of cricket being played in the tournament which has helped the CPL establish itself as one of the top T20 leagues in the world.

"I'm very happy to be back at the Tallawahs

"I have some great memories, like I said, and one of them was Gerard Butler turning up in the dressing-room, getting a helmet and a pair of gloves on and swinging a bat, having a chat and a laugh with us.

"That was exciting! It was a bit surreal to see him in a cricket dressing room rather than on screen.

"But the entire mixture of that whole glitz and glamour of T20 cricket - when you have a tournament like that, the vindication of all that effort is the quality of cricket on the field.

"And I think that’s what really stood out at the end of that entire tournament.

"Everyone had fun, everyone had a lot of non-cricketing stars that came along to watch the cricket, who had a love for the game.

"And there was a lot of passion from the followers. But the stand-out was the cricket.

"In any tournament, if the cricket you put on the field is the best you can display, it goes a long way in establishing the tournament as a marquee event."

This year, Jamaica Tallawahs have a long list of international stars with the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan and Proteas pace spearhead Dale Steyn along with Sangakkara himself.

Though Jamaica Tallawahs have an impressive roster of foreign players, Sangakkara is confident that, it is the local players like Gayle and Russell who will make a difference for the side.

"I think the rest of the squad is very good. You have the ‘Universe Boss’ (Chris Gayle) playing for us so that helps!

"Andre Russell has been an amazing player in the shortest versions of the game.

"He’s an unbelievable athlete and I remember in that semi-finals and final, when I did play, he was the defining player of the tournament.

"He won us those two games, along with Chris in the finals, so you have a great core.

"You have Chadwick Walton, Shakib Al Hasan and you have Alex Ross from Adelaide coming in and Imad Wasim from Pakistan.

"So, the squad of local and foreign players is a nice mixture.

"But in any tournament, the real difference in the squad is made by the majority players who are the local players.

"So from our left-arm spinners to our all-rounders, to the fast bowlers and to the great West Indians like Chris and Andre, it’s going to be a very good collective effort if you’re going to get to the final and maybe win again.

"That’s the ambition and I’m sure everyone will have a great time trying to get there."

The first match for Jamaica Tallawahs in the upcoming edition of the CPL will be against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots on 2nd July at Warner Park, Basseterre.

© Cricket World 2016