Sri Lanka’s wicket-keeper/batsman Kusal Perera has been sent home from his nation’s tour of New Zealand after failing a doping test.
It is, as yet, unclear as to whether the substance for which the 25-year-old tested positive was a performance-enhancing drug or simply recreational; the punishment for the former would be much more severe than for the latter.
A statement from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said Perera failed a random test during the recent tour of Pakistan, in which he played five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals.
SLC says it will test his B sample in line with anti-doping regulations, adding that it would “make every endeavour” to enable Perera to resume his career “at the earliest opportunity in compliance with the ICC regulations”.
The left-hander will be replaced in all three Sri Lanka squads by the diminutive 29-year-old Kaushal Silva, who will look to add to his 24 Test caps.
Perera is rated seventh in the world among T20I batsmen according to the ICC, between the illustrious names of Brendon McCullum and Eoin Morgan.
He has only been capped three times in Test cricket, but a pair of half-centuries on debut earlier this year against India highlighted his potential to transfer his strong limited-overs record into the longest form of the game.
The Kalubowila-born batsman hit the joint second-fastest fifty in ODI Cricket in July; his 17-ball effort equalled Sanath Jayasuria vs Pakistan in 1996, and was just one delivery behind AB de Villiers in January of this year.