LONDON: One of the all-time legends of cricket, Kumar Sangakkara, Tuesday took up his role as president of Marylebone Cricket Club.
The former Sri Lankan international is the first non-British president of MCC and will hold the post for one year.
His nomination was announced by the outgoing president, Anthony Wreford, at the MCC Annual General Meeting at Lord’s in May this year.
Sangakkara said: “I am thrilled to hold the prestigious position of MCC president and I look forward to working hard with the MCC to build on this incredible year of cricket.
"We have an opportunity to convert more supporters to the game we love and educate them about the fantastic work MCC does locally, nationally and globally for cricket and those communities.”
Sangakkara has a long association with MCC. He played against the club in 2002, opening the batting for the touring Sri Lankans in a first-class match at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield.
He also played for MCC against an International XI at Lord’s in the 2005 Tsunami Relief Match. Proceeds from that match were used by the Foundation of Goodness to set up the MCC Centre of Excellence at Seenigama in Sri Lanka.
He delivered a powerful and memorable MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture in 2011. In 2012, he was awarded honorary life membership of the club. In the same year, he joined MCC’s World Cricket committee and remains an active member.
Guy Lavender, MCC chief executive & secretary said: “We are delighted that Kumar is taking up his position today and it is with great thanks to Anthony Wreford for choosing our first international President.
"Anthony has been a superb President over an exceptionally busy period and in partnership with his wife Marian Wreford, they have made a fantastic contribution to the Club over a pivotal year.
"I have no doubt that Kumar will be an outstanding successor and will help shape our Club and vision moving forward.”
Outgoing MCC President Anthony Wreford said: “There is no better person than Kumar Sangakkara to take on the role of MCC President over the next twelve months.
"He strongly believes in the power of cricket to engage communities and he will be a pivotal ambassador for the important work that MCC does, including reaffirming its international reputation this summer by staging five ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup matches including that magical final.
"Kumar will be able to make a continued impact not only at Lord’s, but on the Club’s global status. His worldwide appeal as MCC’s first non-British President, will enable him to have a positive effect in this area. I leave the role in very safe hands.”
Sangakkara’s tenure as MCC President will include another busy year at Lord’s next summer, with two England Test Matches against West Indies and Pakistan, and ODI against Australia and the launch of The Hundred competition.