LONDON (AFP) - Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara has said the tourists are glad not to be facing the "amazing" Kevin Pietersen in a two-Test series against England starting at Lord's on Thursday.
Pietersen, England's all-time leading run-scorer across all formats, was dramatically axed from the national side following their 5-0 Ashes thrashing, even though he was the team's top-scorer in Australia.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have suggested that a "distracted" and "disinterested" Pietersen, an ex-England captain, was not conducive to dressing-room harmony.
But Sangakkara, himself a world-class batsman, said it took all types of characters to make a successful side.
"I don't know the reasons for KP's exclusion but the fact remains that he's an amazing player," Sangakkara told Monday's edition of online magazine Wisden EXTRA. "I've watched him, admired him and he is undoubtedly an out-and-out match-winner.
"Of course, as an opposition player I'm not disappointed he's not around. We know what damage he could have done to us, and the damage he has done to us before," said Sangakkara.