How Kusal Perera cleared his name from doping charges
December 6, 2015
Kusal Perera is having dinner in Dunedin ahead of Sri Lanka's first Test against New Zealand, when he gets a call from the ICC instructing him to check his email. He does so upon his return to the hotel and learns that he has been provisionally suspended for failing a doping test. The sample had been given during Sri Lanka's Test series against West Indies, in October. Perera returns to Sri Lanka the next day.
Perera and his manager Ravi de Silva, retain the services of President's Counsel Dinal Philips. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan chemical pathologist Priyanka Dayanath is also consulted. Dayanath looks over the report from the ICC and advises Perera to contest the findings, as he feels the amount of 19-Norandrostenedione found in Perera's sample is insubstantial.
Early January 2016
Thilanga Sumathipala - an old Colombo Cricket Club team-mate of de Silva - is elected president of SLC. Sumathipala asks de Silva if he believes Perera is innocent. When de Silva says he trusts Perera, Sumathipala and his board offer Perera their full assistance.
"In early January I was in Dubai, and I requested a full report of the lab's findings on Perera from the ICC," Sumathipala said. "As a result of that we began discussions with the ICC. I came back and spoke to Perera and recommended that he get legal advice about challenging the findings. He then came back to us and said that he would like the board to intervene and handle the issue with his full consent. He said he'd like to act on our advice."
One of Sumathipala's first suggestions was to hire an overseas law firm, and Morgan Sports Law in the UK was sounded out. They would consult for Perera through the remainder of his case, and were paid for by SLC.
Perera flies to England with de Silva and undertakes a polygraph test, a hair analysis commonly undertaken in forensics, and also has a separate sample of his urine tested.
According to de Silva, the polygraph test returns a "no deception" result, and both the hair and urine analyses suggest "no abuse of steroids". These results are then used to leverage the ICC and prompt the governing body to look more closely at their own processes and the Qatar-based lab's initial findings.
"We knew that a banned substance was found in his blood, so we decided on a plan to challenge those findings," Sumathipala said. "Kusal first underwent a polygraph test in England. He was 100% successful in that, which was to our advantage. The second test he went through was a hair analysis, which helps discern the substances that have been through your body over a long period of time. That was very expensive. The sample was taken in England and the test was done in France."
More experts are consulted. They suggest the amount of 19-Norandrostenedione in Perera's sample was too low a concentration to conclude the player took a banned substance.
The ICC hires its own "independent expert" who looks through the evidence, and determines that the "adverse analytical finding by the laboratory was not sustainable... for various scientific and technical reasons".
May 11, 2016
The ICC clears Perera, stating: "We wish to make it clear that there is no evidence that Mr Perera has ever used performance-enhancing substances."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando