Kusal Perera, the 25 year old left handed wicket keeping batsman has been called up to Sri Lanka’s Test squad in place of injured Dhammika Prasad as soon as "visa formalities are taken care of", Sri Lanka Cricket announced.
Earlier renowned for his prowess in the shorter versions of the game, Kusal Perera had been a revelation in his fledgling Test cricket career. He’s smashed two fifties in 3 Tests, his best being a 70 against Indian in Colombo, 2015. His call up promises to provide another dynamic to the Sri Lankan squad, given the fact that he is replacing a seamer in Dhammika Prasad.
Sanath Jayasuriya, the chief selection said the reason that they have gone in for Perera being that they "have enough bowlers in the squad”. Apart from Shaminda Eranga, Dasun Shanaka, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Pradeep and Dushmantha Chameera, they also have seamer Suranga Lakmal and offspinner Dilruwan Perera, providing plenty of depth to the squad.
"Kusal will join the team as soon as possible and acclimatise so he can do some serious work with the bat," Jayasuriya added.
The likelihood of him being drafted into the team immediately is very low so he might have to sit out the second Test at Chester-le-Street, beginning on Friday. He will be in contention for the third Test at Lord's however, from the 9th of June giving him time to get used to the surroundings.
He has since, however, been cleared off these charges after the ICC said there was no decisive evidence that Perera, who was suspended in December 2015, had used performance-enhancing substances after a detailed examination. As of May 11th 2016, he was free to return to International cricket and represent his nation.
If he is selected, Sri Lanka also have the option of relieving Dinesh Chandimal of the gloves.
The team will miss Dhammika Prasad, who has been their spearhead for most parts of 2015, climbing to the top 20 of the ICC rankings for Test bowlers. There was hope that he might make it back in time for the 3rd Test, but that has since been ruled out. Perera will be hoping be can bring about a change around in fortunes for the team and they can recover from the shambolic loss in the first test at Leeds.Published 23 May 2016, 14:29 IST