Sri Lankan cricket legend believes investment partnering national cricket boards could help smaller nations compete at the highest level.

Sangakkara was speaking at World Cricket Connects, an event at Lord’s hosted by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) designed for the leading voices in the game to discuss the health of cricket and consider the path required for its future success.

The event brought a range of prominent thinkers in cricket together at Lord’s, with players, coaches, broadcasters, franchise owners and administrators all in attendance.

On the agenda was a wide range of topics, including the growth of the game, the distribution of finances and the global calendar.

For Sangakkara, the position of Sri Lanka in the cricketing landscape is one key discussion point.

He explained: “It’s about money, Sri Lanka needs money to invest in the game. How that money comes about, is it going to be ICC handouts, is it going to be the franchise game? How do you become self-sustainable? How do you do it if the market is so small or not as attractive.

“The players have avenues to go beyond Sri Lanka in terms of earning a living and plying their trade because of the franchise landscape.

“Sri Lanka’s place depends on how bilateral cricket continues to exist. Will it exist in the current format? Will it change?

“Will private investment partner the home boards to ensure they are not just skimming the cream off the top but also investing in the grassroots and growing the game? It is incumbent to build the home game and the audience of those products and the consumer base for those products.”

Sangakkara finished his playing career in 2017, making nearly 600 appearances for Sri Lanka across all formats.

Ranking alongside Muttiah Muralitharan as arguably the country’s greatest-ever player, Sangakkara has since gone on to work as the coach of the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

That has given him greater insight into the sport’s future than many, and Sangakkara explained that the sport’s growth could benefit from greater outside influence.

He added: “We have a governing body, the ICC, which is not completely independent as it is made up of the 12 home boards who are full members. Then you have private equity and private enterprise investing massively in the game through the IPL and common ownership throughout the franchise game.

“You have the broadcasters who have a huge insight and idea as to what the next generation of fans want, how they consume the game. They know what new avenues of thinking are needed to make sure the game is sustained financially.

“There are lots of stakeholders who need to play a part in the solution that the game requires and the direction of travel. Having just cricketers or traditional administrators administer the game, is that the right thing? I’m not necessarily sure that it is.

“We need newer ideas, new perspectives, outside perspectives coming in to enhance the thinking in cricket and grow it as we know it can.”