Profiles of the captains

MUMBAI, (Reuters) – Brief profiles of the India and Sri Lanka captains in today’s World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India), aged 29

Dhoni’s rise to the top of his chosen sport mirrors the rocketing popularity of Twenty20 cricket and the fusion of sport and entertainment in India.

Dhoni’s ability to destroy attacks in one-day cricket thrust him initially into the spotlight and he was put in charge of an inexperienced Indian side for the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.

India won the tournament, beating Pakistan in the final, and a year later Dhoni took over as test captain from Anil Kumble.

His initially rudimentary wicketkeeping technique was not seen as a handicap and under his increasingly assured leadership India have risen to the top of the test rankings. He averages a creditable 40.06 in test cricket while his average is close to 50 in the one-day game.

Off the field, Dhoni is an advertising posterboy and a wealthy man as the result of his cricketing activities. Captaining his country to a second World Cup triumph would place him among the pantheon of Indian sporting greats.

Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), 33

Sangakkara is an assured, eloquent leader befitting his training as a lawyer and one of the most elegant batsmen in world cricket.

Sangakkara’s test average of 57.25 places him among the most accomplished batsmen ever and he has flourished since giving up his wicketkeeping duties in five-day cricket.

Like Dhoni, Sangakkara is not a natural wicketkeeper but sufficiently skilled to perform the job at the top level in both forms of the game.

Sangakkara’s suave image off the field belies his fierce competitiveness on the field where he gives at least as good as he gets in the verbal exchanges.

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