Kusal Janith Perera (extreme right) speaks to the media at a press briefing held at SLC on Thursday after the cricket board announced that the ICC had cleared him of a provisional ban imposed on him due to doping charges (Pic by Chathura. S. Kodikara)

The focus the islanders have on Sri Lanka’s tour of England took a dramatic shift to the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headquarters in Colombo when cricket authorities hurriedly organized a press briefing on Thursday to announce that wicket keeper-batsman Kusal Janith Perera had been cleared of doping charges.

Perera came under the spotlight for doping during Sri Lanka’s tour of New Zealand last year. It is interesting to see the next turn of events from the perspective of Perera because the player was denied earning an income from playing cricket during the ban, which has now been proven a very unfair decision.

The player’s urine sample contained the banned substance Norandrostenedione and when the player requested for the B sample to be tested, that too proved positive. However, the SLC hired the services of London-based legal firm Morgan Sport which proved in its findings that the WADA accredited lab in Qatar had made errors while conducted the tests regarding Perera’s urine samples.

It would be very unfair from Perera’s perspective if SLC doesn’t take this issue beyond the player being cleared. Critics point out that the player has the right to claim damages if he can prove that the ICC blunder tarnished his name and put him in a position where there was a loss of income. One also must consider the mental agony that the player had to endure during the months he was out of cricket.

The ICC official website states that the ICC decided to lift the provisional suspension on Perera after coming to know that the WADA accredited laboratory in Qatar had withdrawn its original Adverse Analytical Finding following further investigations. The ICC website also states that Perera’s lawyers have suggested that those who conducted the tests might have misidentified impurities in the samples as 19-Norandrostenedione, given the very low concentrations of that substance found in the samples.

SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala told journalists at the press briefing that the cricket board (SLC) had a definite claim, given that it had proved the player is innocent. Sumathipala added that the SLC will discuss with the ICC as to what future action can be taken with this regard. But he also said that the SLC didn’t wish to sour its relationship with the ICC, a sports body in which he serves as a Director of its Executive Board.

Perera speaking at the briefing said he was thankful to his parents, manager, fans and the media for believing in him during the dark period he experienced due to the suspension.