Perera had been the Test side’s wicketkeeper and No. 7 batsman before he was provisionally suspended for failing a doping Test, in December. The charges against him have since been withdrawn by the ICC, and he has been eligible to play international cricket since May 11.
Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya said his committee had chosen Perera to replace a bowler because Sri Lanka “have enough bowlers in the squad”. In addition to the four frontline bowlers and two allrounders who played in the Headingley Test, seamer Suranga Lakmal and offspinner Dilruwan Perera sit in reserve.
“Kusal will join the team as soon as possible and acclimatise so he can do some serious work with the bat,” Jayasuriya added.
It is unlikely – though not impossible – that Perera will be available for the Test at Chester-le-Street which begins on Friday. He will almost certainly be in contention for the third Test at Lord’s, which does not begin until June 9.
Perera has been training at SLC’s national academy at Khettarama since May 13. Having begun his career as a limited-overs specialist, Perera had made a bright start to his Test career, hitting two rapid fifties in five innings so far. If he is selected, Sri Lanka also have the option of relieving Dinesh Chandimal of the gloves. (Courtesy Cricinfo)