LONDON: Sri Lank a coach Graham Ford believes Kusal Perera can put more than six months without cricket behind him to make a dramatic Test return against England at Lord’s on Thursday.
The 25-year-old wicket-keeper batsman was suspended from all cricket during Sri Lanka’s tour of New Zealand last December, when a laboratory in Qatar, accredited by the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA), said he had produced a positive result in an out-of-competition test.
But last month he was cleared to play again after the laboratory withdrew its “adverse original finding” and replaced it with an “atypical finding”.
Perera wasn’t allowed to take part in any formal cricket training during his suspension.
But injuries saw him added to the tour party and, with spinner Milinda Siriwardana struggling with an ankle problem, Perera could come in for Thursday’s third Test at Lord’s.
It promises to be a daunting return, with Sri Lanka already 2-0 down in the three-match series.
But Perera has already scored two fifties in his three-Test career and is regarded as one of Sri Lanka’s brightest batting talents.
“He’s been out of cricket for the time he has been, (so) it’s not going to be easy,” Ford told reporters at Lord’s on Wednesday. “(But) he is a classy player. He is a special player, and I will have no problem selecting him.
“Whatever he has gone through mentally he will be up for it, I am sure he will appreciate every day that he gets from here on,” the South African added.