Australia in Sri Lanka 2011 August 10, 2011

Tharanga relieved as ban ends

ESPNcricinfo staff

Upul Tharanga, the Sri Lanka opener, has said his three-month drug ban that ended on Tuesday was "one of the most difficult situations" in his life.

Tharanga had said that he had failed the drug test during the World Cup because of a herbal remedy to ease discomfort caused by a long-standing shoulder injury. The ICC, while imposing the ban, had accepted that the offence wasn't deliberate.

"The ban affected me psychologically and that was one of the toughest periods in my life," Tharanga told the Island, a Sri Lankan newspaper. "Fortunately that's over now and I am looking forward to the future."

Tharanga was an important performer in the World Cup, with 395 runs at 56.42, forming a powerful opening combination with the tournament's highest run-getter, Tillakaratne Dilshan. He tested positive after the semi-final against New Zealand in Colombo.

"I was shocked when I got to know that I had failed a drug test. I just couldn't understand what had happened," he said a day ahead of his return to international cricket, the first ODI against Australia. He had missed the tour of England as a result of the suspension.

"It's a unique challenge to play and succeed in England due to the conditions and I had a good tour last time in 2006. It was disappointing to miss out on this occasion," he said. "Everything is over now [though], and the captain and the selectors have recalled me as soon as the ban is over. I am looking forward to do well in this series."

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  • KISH on August 13, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    For those of who thinks drug can't help a batsman: Drug is helpful for any sportsman to improve their stamina and strength. If you think a batsman doesn't look for extra strength and extra stamina, you are not following cricket. Only sports the drug many not help is may be Chess. Even then, there are drugs to improve your mental alertness.

  • Andrew on August 12, 2011, 0:53 GMT

    @ thebrownie - you miss the point big time! Its performance enhancing as it "cured" an injury, meaniing he was able to move his shoulder free of pain whilst batting.

  • Firdaus on August 11, 2011, 14:12 GMT

    Personally, I think that Tharanga is telling the truth.

  • AJITH on August 11, 2011, 11:54 GMT

    What exactly does drugs improve for a batsman? Nothing! you still need to be able to see the ball and hit it. This whole drug test is nothing but a sham.

  • Dummy4 on August 11, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    Lovely batsmen and plays with a straight bat, I just wish Kumar would teach him to use his feet a bit more!

  • Ramesh on August 11, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    I am disappointed but not surprised to see Tharanga get away so easily. Nothing should be surprising in a country where a 40 year-old makes an international comeback for just a game or two...Absolute mockery..

  • Muhammad on August 11, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    Good Luck from Pakistan UT.

  • Sam on August 11, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    Your a great player who made mistake. Come back and play for your country and show the world what you have to offer. Goodluck mate

  • Randika on August 10, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    Good luck Upul. I firmly believe that when seekign alternate medical help every professional needs to be careful as to what they are taking! Havign said that Prednicelone is a common drug and ICC have acted responsibly for punishing the naive nistake but not being too harsh on the young star!

  • Dummy4 on August 10, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    Its difficult to tell who would cheat and who wouldnt, but i must admit that for some reason im inclined to believe Upul. Has to be tough with your character called into question. good luck to him - i hope it doesnt last and that people treat him fairly.

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