I. Kumar Sangakkara: “Sangakkara wants Perera for England tour”
“Before this tour he’d have been at the T20 World Cup, opening with [Tillakaratne] Dilshan which would have been a huge advantage for us because he’s a fantastic player,” Kumar Sangakkara said during an event in London. “I’m extremely confused as to what has happened, the labs in Qatar came back with an adverse finding in one of his urine samples and named the steroid that was found, then over the last few days they have withdrawn that, saying there’s been a mistake. The poor boy has been out for quite a long time. [He’s] 24-25, one of the most exciting talents we have, a wicketkeeper, a strong batsman. I hope they do [fly him out for the England tour] because when you’ve got through something like that the best support is to be allowed to play cricket again. He’s good enough to be here. But the sad fact is that when you are provisionally banned, you can’t even train, using the facilities that international teams use.
“A sad situation but thankfully that’s all over, he can carry on what he loves doing, but unfortunately Sri Lanka has lost a remarkable player for quite some time now.”
II. Andrew Fidel Fernando: “Not much damage done to my reputation – Kusal Perera”….. | Cricket | ESPN Cricinfo
“People told me after the B sample also was shown to have the substance, that it would be better to accept my fault and hope for a shorter ban. But I didn’t want to accept a wrong that I hadn’t actually committed. If there had been any wrongdoing, I would have accepted it. For four years I had played with no problem.”
Perera had also spent a substantial amount of his own money in fighting the WADA-approved lab’s findings. His campaign to be cleared had included a trip to England for a polygraph test, a hair analysis and a separate urine test, as well as substantial coordination with his main legal team, which was based in the UK. He received news of his being cleared on Wednesday evening, but he had already begun to focus on making a return to the game, he said.
“I can’t think much about the personal cost to me, because all I want to do is play cricket again. I’ve been out of the game for five months. I need to get back to practice soon. I’m really not thinking much about the financial losses. The first priority is to play for Sri Lanka and get back to form.”
Perera is theoretically available for Sri Lanka’s Tests in England, which begin on May 19, but appears unlikely to join the squad immediately, as he has been forced to miss official team practices or training sessions since December 7. It is conceivable that he will play in the limited-overs leg of the tour to UK and Ireland, which starts on June 16 after the three Tests. There is also a full home tour against Australia in July and August.
“The first month of the suspension I couldn’t train much because I was getting a lot of legal advice,” Perera said. “I did try to find time to train with a coach. I also worked on my fitness through the period. I need to do a bit more practice before I think about tours. That’s how I’ll get my form back. Through this period I couldn’t work with the Sri Lanka trainer, so there will be work to do on my fitness as well.”
Perera thanked a range of people for assisting him in both clearing his name, and in staying positive through a difficult period. “I’m very happy about being able to come back to cricket. I got the news from Thilanga Sumathipala last night. I’m really happy that the board and fans trusted me. A lot of people had made supportive comments. I need to thank by family. My brothers were there for me especially. [My manager] Ravi helped me. And a lot of coaches helped me and gave me words of encouragement as well, which helped me along.”
Former captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene came out in support of Perera’s charges being cleared.
III. Mahela’s Comments on Andrew Fernando’s Essay