Doping charges dropped, Sri Lanka’s Perera cleared to play
COLOMBO, May 12 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan wicket keeper Kusal Perera has had all anti-doping charges brought against him dropped by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the Qatar-based laboratory that conducted the test withdrew its initial finding.
Perera was sent home from Sri Lanka’s tour of New Zealand in December after it was announced that he had failed a test during the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last July.
He faced a four-year ban from cricket.
"We wish to make it clear that there is no evidence that Mr Perera has ever used performance-enhancing substances and we wish him well in his future cricketing endeavours," ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson said in a statement.
The Sri Lankan team is currently in England preparing for the first match of their three-test series in Leeds next week.
"I am very happy that the cricket board and all the others believed in me," Perera, 25, told reporters in Colombo.
"I always said I never took anything. Now I can start practising again from today and then let’s see what happens."
Perera, who featured in the Sri Lankan team in all three formats, missed the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20, while the provisional suspension meant he was not picked for the England tour as well.
"Some people said that if I accept guilt, the suspension time will be reduced," he added. "But I didn’t want to accept guilt when I had not done anything wrong. That is what I said then."
"If I had done something wrong, I can accept it, but when I haven’t, I was not going to accept guilt."
Richardson said cricket’s governing body would talk to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which had accredited the laboratory about the case.
"While I am confident that this is an isolated incident in respect of tests commissioned by the ICC, we are seeking an urgent explanation from WADA and the laboratory in an attempt to understand what has transpired and what will be done to ensure that it does not happen again," Richardson said.