SRI Lankan cricket legend Kumar Sangakkara is the star attraction at a charity fundraiser in Dorset on Friday (7pm).

Hosted by Shillingstone Cricket Club, the evening at Blandford’s Crown Hotel will feature a meal plus a Q&A session with the world-class former wicketkeeper-batter.

The event is designed to raise money for the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance in light of an incident involving Shillingstone last season.

One of their players, who will remain anonymous, suffered a stroke while fielding in a league match at Bere Regis and needed life-saving treatment from the air ambulance.

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And event organiser Chris Cole, himself a player with County Division Three side Shillingstone, spoke of the importance of the event.

He told Echosport: “We’ve got to know him. His agent, Charlie, plays for our cricket club so we’ve managed to get him on board.

“It’s quite a story, really. Last year, playing Bere Regis, one of our players ran up to bowl and effectively had a stroke on the pitch.

“After half an hour of a couple of physios dealing with him, the air ambulance had to come and pick him up.

“Realistically, as soon as that happened it was a chance for us to give back. We’re just trying to raise as much as we can in this event for the air ambulance.”

And Cole believes a measure of Sangakkara’s character has been his willingness to engage with local cricket, which has included participating in Dorset Over-50s nets.

Cole said: “As anyone that will meet him will testify is that he’s obviously a fantastic cricketer but by all accounts he’s also a superb person.

“This Q&A is a way of him branching out into the community again. He’s already done that many times in the couple of years that he’s been in the area.

“It’s a big thing for not only the club but moreover Dorset cricket in general.”

Dorset Echo: Kumar Sangakkara, right, with England legend Freddie Flintoff last summerKumar Sangakkara, right, with England legend Freddie Flintoff last summer (Image: JOHN WALTON/PA WIRE)

Sangakkara, a north Dorset resident, is considered one of the icons of the game, having scored a staggering 12,400 Test runs plus 14,234 in one-day internationals.

He was also part of Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup-winning side in 2014, won the Champions Trophy in 2002 and is a three-time Asian Cup victor.

The left-hander, 46, is now a television pundit and coach of the Rajasthan Royals in the world-famous Indian Premier League (IPL).

Up to 15 tickets, priced at £50 each, are still available for the night at which a silent auction will also be held. Contact Chris on 07817 490783 for more details.