HOBART Hurricanes coach Damien Wright has revealed that star recruit Kumar Sangakkara openly apologised to teammates on Wednesday night for his poor returns in his first Big Bash League season.
The Sri Lankan great managed just 105 runs from his eight matches, averaging 13.12, with a top score of 43 and strike-rate of 119.31, and along with Ben Dunk (113 runs at 14.12) was a major reason why the Canes failed to fire.
His last contribution for this summer was four from five balls opening up in the Canes’ season-ending loss to Adelaide Strikers, being dismissed by paceman Michael Neser.
‘‘He just had a horror tournament,’’ Wright said of Sangakkara to Fairfax Media.
‘‘He spoke to the whole group after the game, which was to apologise to the boys.
‘‘He’s had a great time and loved all the lads and he can’t wait to come back, and I guarantee he will come back so determined, and somebody of his class and calibre, he could have one hell of a tournament next year.’’
Jake Lehmann’s last ball maximum over long-off ended the Canes’ finals hopes, and made it two losses in a row that went down to the wire after their one-run defeat to the Perth Scorchers on Sunday.
Wright said being so close yet so far from a finals spot was ‘‘as tough as it gets’’.
‘‘Just the emotion of it all, knowing that it went down to a ball in both those games, it is pretty hard to swallow.
‘‘But that shows that we didn’t play our best cricket throughout the tournament, but we came awfully close against the two top teams, so it is a case of what could have been.
‘‘’It will be difficult to watch the finals, as we know if we had played to our potential we could have gone all the way and won it.’’
Despite a second successive 3-5 season, Wright said he believed his squad had improved, but there were still two key areas to work on.
‘‘Simon Milenko came in and showed us a lot with the ball (late), and also gave us the option in the first six with the new ball, and that was an area we did struggle in.
‘‘Also the way we play spin was poor. If we improve on those areas, I think we will be very hard to beat.’’
Using hindsight, Wright said Milenko was someone he should have used earlier, and could have put more pressure on West Indian Darren Sammy, who took just one wicket for the tournament.
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