The sense of anxiety and disbelief was labelled on every cricket enthusiast’s face with news of mercurial left hander Kusal Janith Perera who is also called ‘déjà vu Jayasuriya’ being recalled from the tour of New Zealand after he was tested positive by the ICC for a banned substance. SLC media manager Rajith Fernando fired [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Sense and sensibility in the Kusal Janith paradox


The sense of anxiety and disbelief was labelled on every cricket enthusiast’s face with news of mercurial left hander Kusal Janith Perera who is also called ‘déjà vu Jayasuriya’ being recalled from the tour of New Zealand after he was tested positive by the ICC for a banned substance.

SLC media manager Rajith Fernando fired across a short note stating, “SLC has been advised that a sample provided by Kusal Janith Perera for a random testing carried out by the ICC during the recent Pakistani Tour, has yielded a positive result for a banned substance.

In view of this and in terms of the applicable ICC Regulations, SLC has recalled Perera from New Zealand. SLC will to take all steps required to have a further sample tested and make every endeavour to enable Kusal Janith Perera to resume playing cricket at the earliest opportunity in compliance with the ICC Regulations.”

Then some news reports claimed that the test was positive because of drugs he had taken to treat a leach bite on the recommendation of a physiotherapist but they failed to inform the ICC about the usage of the substance.

However, it has now transpired that that during the recent West Indies tour of Sri Lanka, four cricketers were subjected to tests and of them only Kusal Janith Perera’s sample was tested positive after the tests were carried out in a laboratory in Qatar.

Upon the tests, the ICC forwarded a comprehensive 51-page document outlining steps that were taken to ensure that the tests were carried out under a comprehensive cover with a maximum line of responsibility.

However the Sunday Times Sports understands that the defence of taking drugs for leach bites does not carry any weight because the prescription forwarded does not include any harmful drugs – leave alone banned substances.

To clarify the issue further, the Sunday Times Sports spoke to Dr. Seevali Jayawickrema, the Director General of Sri Lanka Anti-Doping Agency.
Dr. Jayawickrema feels that mainly the story lies upon the responsibility of the individual.

Two days after the sample was taken, Kusal Perera hit 23, held three catches and created two stunning stumpings against the West Indies in Galle

He says that there are no short cuts to this situation because once the banned substance is in the system of the said athlete, he is responsible because the system has provided enough guidelines and information to educate the athletes on the prescribed cures and substances which are not prescribed.

By tomorrow, SLC will send a formal notification to the ICC stating that it wishes to have the B sample tested.

This also means that from this point onwards the athlete concerned or the respective local authority would have to bear the costs of future action taken.

The next action is legal action for the clearance of Kusal Janith Perera. Then we asked Dr. Jayawickrema on how much he could tell us about the matter at hand and what could be done.

He said: “It is known that it is a banned substance that has got into his system. Steroids cannot be taken while in competition or outside competition.

So there will be maximum sentence where the first offence is concerned. As at January 2015 the sentence is four years instead of two years earlier.
“However we now need to know whether it was done intentionally or it got into the system unintentionally.

Then according to the proceedings it will be up to the ICC to decide, whether it was taken intentionally or unintentionally”.

Then Dr. Jayawickrema took time to explain the proceeding of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). “The WADA was established in 1999 and for the past 15 years it has done a lot of research on the subject of eradicating doping in sports.

However in spite of a great deal of education and awareness, we still find that there is a huge number of cases in doping in the sports arena. As a result, from 2015 they have brought in new legislation and made them more stringent.

Now it is four years for the first offence and for the second offence it is a life ban. Earlier it was only a two year ban. “However four years means that if the athlete has taken banned substances intentionally.

If the athlete has taken the substance unintentionally the panel would scrutinise the case closely and arrive at a reduced sentence. In the same vein there is a thing called self-liability.

This means the person is responsible when a substance enters his or her body—orally, injected or in any other manner.”

Dr. Jayawickrema said all relevant information is now available on internet and WADA has given out all details regarding the banned substances.

The details of such banned substances are updated on January 1 every year. This means the athletes should be IT savvy in all instances.

“If a doctor has prescribed any medicine they have the opportunity to crosscheck the safety of the substances that they have prescribed. The website is called Global DRO.

“In the recently concluded Rugby World Cup competition there was not a single incident of doping. This is a huge fillip to the International Rugby Board. But in Sri Lanka there is a question mark.

In the recent past there were a few players who were found positive. At present SLADA is carrying out two main functions – we educate as well as test those athletes at random.”

Another relevant point, according Dr. Jayawickrema, is that some athletes try to enhance their ability through these substances because we Sri Lankans are small made.

At some instances some instructors advise that our athletes could match their international opponents by taking various substances. “But, I find through research that through supplements alone, a person cannot enhance his or her ability.

It greatly depends upon their individual skill and they need to know what sort of nutrients and the percentage that are needed. If monitored properly it would co-relate with the training.

In most cases the nutrients needed could be taken with your normal food, and there are some cases that you might need supplements to reach those percentages.”

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