Kusal free to play after doping suspension lifted


The ICC has lifted the provisional suspension imposed on Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Perera, after the WADA-accredited laboratory in Qatar withdrew its original finding, and said there is no evidence the player has ever used performance-enhancing drugs.

Perera, who has featured in 76 internationals for his country, predominantly in limited-overs cricket, was suspended by world cricket's governing body last December - and duly missed this year's World Twenty20 - after the laboratory in Qatar reported he had tested positive for 19-Norandrostenedione, a prohibited anabolic steroid.

The same substance was subsequently confirmed to be present in B samples provided by Perera. However, lawyers acting on behalf of the player suggested impurities in the samples may have been misidentified, prompting the ICC to commission an independent expert to review the laboratory's findings.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ICC explained: "Whilst the independent expert concluded that the Qatar laboratory had correctly identified 19-Norandrostenedione in the samples, that expert's view was that an adverse analytical finding by the laboratory was not sustainable, because, for various scientific and technical reasons, it could not be ruled out that the 19-Norandrostenedione was produced naturally in the player's body and/or formed in the samples after the player provided them.

"These concerns were immediately presented by the ICC to the Qatar laboratory, which has today confirmed that it has withdrawn the adverse analytical finding and is instead reporting an atypical finding.  It has advised that no specific further investigation of the player's two samples is warranted, but has recommended the monitoring of the player's steroid profile moving forward.

"As a result, the ICC has immediately withdrawn the disciplinary proceedings previously brought against Mr Perera, and he is therefore free to train and compete domestically and internationally again without restriction with immediate effect."

David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, added: "Cricket is proud of its compliance with the structures and systems required by WADA and takes comfort from the fact that samples are tested in accordance with WADA-approved standards and at WADA-accredited laboratories. However, the ICC is troubled in this case by the fact that the Qatar laboratory has issued an adverse analytical finding that has then had to be withdrawn and replaced with an atypical finding.

"Whilst 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 it does not happen again.

"We regret what Mr Perera has had to endure, and would like to commend him for the manner in which he has conducted himself throughout this period.

"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."