With some injury concerns and an eye on a return to the national Test side, batsman Kusal Janith Perera has decided to turn down a lucrative offer to replace disgraced Australian batsman David Warner in the Sunrisers Hyderabad team during this year’s IPL.
Ravi de Silva, his manager, confirmed this but said it was because his player is keen to join the national squad for Sri Lanka’s next assignment in the West Indies.
Sunrisers Hyderabad had approached the left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman to join the side after David Warner was removed following his one-year ban Cricket Australia over involvement in the ball-tampering scandal.
Sri Lanka will begin their training for the West Indies tour in the first week of May. This means that, even if Kusal Perera was to take up the offer, he will have to leave the franchise halfway through the IPL to join the national squad training. Sri Lanka will play three Tests against West Indies in May-June.
“He was very excited by the offer,” said de Silva. “But he wants to win back his place in the national side. So he is keen to play in the Super Fours Provincial Tournament and prove himself."
The offer comes in the wake of Kusal's prolific batting effort during the recent Nidahas Trophy where he hit as many as 204 runs off four innings with three half centuries.
His refusal comes with a substantial financial loss to the player but,with at least seven years of international cricket in front of him, the 27-year-old is looking at the bigger picture rather than short-term financial gain.
Kusal Perera is part of Team Dambulla--is is Vice Captain--in the ongoing Super Fours Tournament but opted out due to injury concerns.
“He will, however, play at least one match in the tournament," de Silva said. "He is very keen to represent Sri Lanka in all three formats.
A highly talented left-arm batsmen, Perera has experienced leg injuries in recent months. During the Champions Trophy last year, he damaged his hamstring and missed the home series against India later in year. He returned to the side in December for the five-match ODI series against India. However, he injured his hamstring during the tri-series in Bangladesh and missed the T20 series in Bangladesh.
Kusal has played 10 Test matches in between his first Test against India in August 2015 and last Test in December 2016 against South Africa.
He also missed a good four months of cricket in 2015 when he was wrongly accused of a doping rule violation. As a result of a sustained challenge by the player, ICC dropped charges after the Qatar-based laboratory that conducted the test withdrew its initial findings.
Meanwhile a number of national cricketers have skipped their opening fixtures of the Super Fours Provincial Tournament due to injury concerns. Among them are Angelo Mathews and Suranga Lakmal--the captains of the Team Kandy and Team Galle, Upul Tharanga of Team Galle, Rangana Herath and Kusal Perera of Team Dambulla.
They will however expect to return to play at least one of the three scheduled games in the tournament. Two players Danushka Gunathilaka of Team Kandy and Dushmantha Chameera of Team Colombo have injured themselves while playing and likely to miss the rest of the series.