Kusal Perera © Getty Images
Kusal Perera © Getty Images

Colombo: Sri Lanka‘s sports minister on Wednesday defended wicketkeeper Kusal Perera who was suspended from the ongoing New Zealand tour after failing a drugs test, hinting at a conspiracy against the cricketer. Dayasiri Jayasekera told parliament that authorities will send a “B” sample for testing after the International Cricket Council announced last week that Perera tested positive for a banned steroid during a random check. “We are doing all we can to defend him,” the minister said. “We are wondering if this allegation is a conspiracy to keep him out of next year’s T20 World Cup.” Defending champions Sri Lanka are contenders to retake the title when the World T20 takes place from March to April in India next year. ALSO READ: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 2015 Test series rocked by Kusal Perera’s shock suspension

Jayasekera said Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena had spoken to Perera who was abruptly pulled from the series in New Zealand involving two Tests, five ODI games and two T20 matches.

Perera is Sri Lanka’s second international player to fail a doping test. Left-hander Upul Tharanga was suspended for three months after testing positive during the 2011 World Cup. Tharanga blamed a “herbal remedy” that he had taken for a long-standing shoulder injury for failing the doping test. ALSO READ: Kusal Perera recalled from Sri Lanka Test squad against New Zealand following doping charges

Earlier, Sri Lanka had recalled wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Perera from New Zealand after he tested positive for a banned steroid, the national cricket board said. The 25-year-old was randomly tested during the recent Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka and the just released results were positive, Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.

“In view of this and in terms of the applicable ICC regulations, SLC has recalled Perera from New Zealand,” the board said, adding that they would test a “B” sample in line with anti-doping regulations. Sri Lanka is sending Kaushal Silva, 29, who is also a wicketkeeper-batsman, to take his place. Sri Lanka will play two Tests, five ODI games and two T20 matches in New Zealand from December 10 to January 10.