Sri Lankan player Kushal Perera will be a relieved man after the International Cricket Council (ICC) withdrew the disciplinary proceedings and lifted the provisional suspension that was enforced on him.
The wicket-keeper batsman has said support from family, the board, and fans helped him to pass through those tough five-month suspension due to doping charges that have now been withdrawn by the ICC.
“I think people believed me through the whole ordeal,” Perera said on Thursday (May 12). “I said I hadn’t taken anything illegal then, and I still say it now. The board believed me, and the media believed me and left me alone. The fans also believed me, so I don’t think there has been much damage done to my reputation.”
“I need to thank my 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,” he added.
Perera was tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, 9-Norandrostenedione, and matters became worse when the B sample returned identical results, in January. Perera said that despite the findings, he was confident of his innocence.
“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 also revealed his plans to make a comeback to the national team.
“The first month of the suspension I couldn’t train much because I was getting a lot of legal advice,” Perera noted. “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.”