Kusal Perera out of NZ tour after testing positive for banned substance
Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Kusal Perera will be replaced by Kaushal Silva in the squad for New Zealand, after testing positive for a banned substance. The 25-year-old’s sample failed a random test by the ICC during the home series against Pakistan.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said it will take every step and “make every endeavor” to ensure Perera resumes playing cricket “at the earliest opportunity in compliance with the ICC regulations”. SLC also aded that they will test his B sample in line with anti-doping regulations.
Perera has played in 51 One Day Internationals and has scored 1259 runs at an average of 27, but an impressive strike rate of 92. His record in T20s is even more impressive, as he averages 27 from 22 T20Is at a strike rate of 133.
The 25-year-old only made his Test debut in August 2015. His first appearance in the longest format came in the third Sri Lanka-India Test, which the hosts lost. The wicketkeeper batsman was one of the few bright sparks, in an otherwise forgettable Test as he scored a fifty in both innings.
Sri Lanka, who had already dropped the experienced Lahiru Thirimanne from the Test squad, will now be without their keeper who has been in decent form this year. Perera was picked in all three squads will be replaced by Silva, who struggled against Ravichandran Ashwin in the India series, which the Lankans lost.
Sri Lanka’s tour of New Zealand, which lasts a month starting from December, will consist of two Tests, five ODIs and two T20 matches. The first Test at Dunedin starts on December 10.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews had earlier described the tour against New Zealand as one of their toughest yet, as they enter a new era without Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
"We have got to start off from zero, this is a bigger challenge for us because the weather is not going to be on our side, it will be tough and cold but it's the mental aspect," he said. "If we can get our mindset right we shouldn't be too worried about the cold or anything else and make any excuses, we can just go on the tour and play to win.”
That task of winning away from home, will be made all the more difficult with the loss of an explosive batsman in Kusal Perera.