Mathurage Don Kusal Janith Perera
August 17, 1990, Kalubowila
Left hand Bat
Royal College, Colombo
Possessed of a short backlift, powerful forearms and relentless bloody-mindedness, left-handed batsman Kusal Janith Perera's batting is not just inspired by his hero Sanath Jayasuriya's technique, at times, it seems an exact duplicate.
Like Jayasuriya, he has a second skill - though it is wicketkeeping rather than slow left-arm, and he was part of Sri Lanka's Under-19 teams, before he joined Colts Cricket Club as a senior. At Colts, Perera quickly set about forging a career founded on aggression and reliability in equal parts, and after two seasons, Sri Lanka's selectors could no longer ignore him.
An injury to Kumar Sangakkara saw him earn a place in Sri Lanka's limited-overs squad to Australia in January 2012, where his breezy innings made plain his talent - particularly during a 22 not out at the Gabba that took Sri Lanka home in a low-scoring ODI. Though a middle-order batsman by reputation, he was promoted to the position of opener in the two Twenty20s that followed, where he continued to play impactful innings
On return to Sri Lanka, Perera hit a first-class double-ton, then a 275-ball 336, and had proved enough to the selectors to be given a central contract and an extended run in the limited-overs sides.
Perera hit his maiden ODI century in Mirpur in 2014 to help Sri Lanka complete a 3-0 whitewash over Bangladesh. He then hammered a 17-ball half-century, Sri Lanka's joint-fastest, against Pakistan in Pallekele in July 2015, to equal Jayasuriya's record.
A month later Perera was handed his Test debut against India in Colombo. He made twin fifties, becoming only the second Sri Lanka batsman to score two half-centuries on debut.
Perera's burgeoning career hit a stumbling block in December 2015 when he was provisionally suspended from international cricket by the ICC, after having failed a dope test. He was recalled from Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand and subsequently missed a bilateral T20 series in India, Asia Cup, and World T20.
His plight appeared bleak when his initial sample tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug, 19-Norandrostenedione, but it grew bleaker when his B sample returned identical results.
Perera had strong support from SLC, though, and also spent a substantial amount of his own money in fighting the WADA-approved lab's findings. His campaign to be cleared included a trip to England for a polygraph test, a hair analysis and a separate urine test, as well as substantial coordination with his main legal team, which was based in the UK.
All this eventually paid off when his name was cleared in May 2016, bringing his suspension to an end after five months out - the Qatar-based lab's findings were deemed "unsustainable" for "scientific and technical reasons" by an independent expert hired by the ICC.
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