Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakarra today backed calls for Kusal Perera to be called up to the current squad after the talented batsman was cleared to play following an admission by officials that he had been suspended over a botched drug test.
Perera was suspended during Sri Lanka’s tour of New Zealand last December, after a laboratory in Qatar, accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said he had produced a positive result in an out-of-competition test.
But the International Cricket Council (ICC) lifted the suspension with immediate effect late on Wednesday when it described the test as “an atypical finding” that could not be construed as evidence of doping.
Sangakkara, speaking at an event in London staged by sponsors Investec ahead of the start of next week’s England-Sri Lanka Test series, said he was “extremely confused” by recent events and added he hoped Perera would have a successful career from now on.
“Before this tour he would have been in the T20 World Cup, opening up with (Tillakaratne) Dilshan, which would have been a huge advantage,” said Sangakkara, now retired from international cricket and playing for English county side Surrey.
“I’m extremely confused as to what’s happened. The labs in Qatar came back with an adverse finding in one of his urine samples and they named him, with the steroid that was found. Suddenly, over the last two days, they’ve withdrawn that and said ‘we might have made a mistake’.
“The poor boy has been out for quite a long time. He’s very young, 25, one of the most exciting talents we have.”