Kusal Perera: Sri Lanka batsman's drugs ban lifted by ICC

Kusal Perera
Perera was sent home from his side's tour of New Zealand in December after his failed test came to light

Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Perera is free to return to action after his provisional suspension for failing a drugs test was lifted.

The 25-year-old faced a four-year ban after failing an out-of-competition test in October 2015.

He was banned in December but the International Cricket Council has now lifted the sanction after declaring Perera's results "not sustainable".

Perera returns to the game "without restriction and with immediate effect".

ICC chief executive David Richardson said the governing body was "troubled" by the case.

He added: "We wish to make it clear that there is no evidence that Mr Perera has ever used performance-enhancing substances and we wish him well in his future cricketing endeavours."

In a statement, the ICC said the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Qatar that conducted the tests had withdrawn its adverse finding after an independent review could not rule out the possibility that the substance - 19-Norandrostenedione - had been produced naturally by the player or formed in the samples after they were provided.

Kusal Perera's international statistics

"Whilst I am confident that this is an isolated incident in respect of tests commissioned by the ICC, we are seeking an urgent explanation from Wada and the laboratory in an attempt to understand what has transpired and what will be done to ensure it does not happen again," Richardson said.

"Had it not been for the diligence of Mr Perera's legal team and the ICC's own desire to uncover the explanation for the reported findings, the consequences could well have been different, and that should be of concern to all involved in the fight against doping.

"We regret what Mr Perera has had to endure, and would like to commend him for the manner in which he has conducted himself throughout this period."

Sri Lanka are currently in England preparing for the first Test at Headingley, which starts on 19 May.