This weekend two of the last decade's greatest batsmen have said goodbye to international cricket. Michael Clarke and Kumar Sangakkara have both called it a day on their glittering careers.
Both men have been pivotal for their countries in all forms of the game over a number of years, a presence that their teams will only feel fully when they are gone. All through their time in cricket they have been in and around the top ten best batsmen in the world.
Both men have also spent time leading their countries as captains. An extra pressure which they didn't allow to effect their performances.
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Michael Clarke finishes as Australia's forth best Test batsman with 8643 runs at an average of 49.10. The Australian public knew they had a special talent when a young, blonde haired Clarke scored 151 against India in Bangalore on his Test debut, followed up by a score of 141 on his home debut against New Zealand at The Gabba in Brisbane. The 34-year-old ended up registering 28 Test centuries.
Clarke also performed well in one day cricket scoring 7981 in 245 games with an excellent average of 44.58. The Aussie also played in two winning Australian World Cup teams, captaining the side to glory earlier this year.
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Despite a back injury which almost kept him out of the tournament, he top-scored in the final with 74. If it wasn't for a career where injury was never far away, Clarke's figures could have been even better.
"The decision is never easy," he said to BBC Sport as he discussed his retirement earlier this month. "I started playing this great game at six years of age. I wish I could play for another 30."
Kumar Sangakkara's record speaks for itself. In fact, it is quite staggering. The Sri Lankan calls it a day as the leading test run scorer for his country with 12,400 runs from his 134 Test matches. A total that puts him fifth on the all time list, ahead of likes of Brian Lara. With 38 centuries and a average of 57.40, the 37-year-old can truly be considered as a cricketing genius and legend.
But it wasn't just Test cricket that Sangakarra was a force in, his one day international career is as impressive, if not more so. Again topping his country's list, he is also the second best ODI batsman of all time with a massive 14,234 runs from 404 matches, averaging 41.98- only the great Sachin Tendulkar ahead of him.
Another fact that lifts his achievements even further is, along with performing as one of the best batsman in the world throughout his career, he also kept wicket for his country on many occasions. He took 539 catches from behind the stumps across all forms of the game for Sri Lanka and 139 stumpings. Another reason that Kumar Sangakarra should always be considered in the debate about who is the best cricketer of all time.
As you can conclude for yourself, neither of these players can be criticised for their outstanding careers. But personally, with their extremely high standards, they may have wished to finish on a more positive note.
Michael Clarke has seen his Australian side lose the Ashes away to England in a series where he didn't manage to make a notable contribution, averaging less than 20. Likewise, in Sangakarra's last Test match against India, the wicket-keeper batsman scored just 32 and 18 in his two last innings.
Nevertheless, they are two players that will be a big miss for the world of cricket- not just their countries- as the game loses two of its brightest stars.
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