Kusal Perera

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Kusal Janith Perera
කුසල් ජනිත් පෙරේරා
குசல் ஜனித் பெரேரா
Personal information
Full nameMathurage Don Kusal Janith Perera
Born (1990-08-17) 17 August 1990 (age 28)
Kalubowila, Sri Lanka
NicknamePodi (Little) Sana, Kusalaa
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
BattingLeft-handed
BowlingLeft-arm medium
RoleWicket-keeper batsman
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 130)28 August 2015 v India
Last Test21 February 2019 v South Africa
ODI debut (cap 155)13 January 2013 v Australia
Last ODI15 June 2019 v Australia
T20I debut (cap 48)26 January 2013 v Australia
Last T20I11 January 2019 v New Zealand
T20I shirt no.55
Domestic team information
YearsTeam
Wayamba cricket team
2013Rajasthan Royals (squad no. 8)
Ruhuna cricket team
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI T20I FC
Matches 16 90 36 70
Runs scored 910 2,390 1,046 4,682
Batting average 35.00 29.87 29.06 43.75
100s/50s 2/4 4/12 0/10 13/19
Top score 153* 135 84 336
Catches/stumpings 17/8 33/2 10/3 100/23
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 15 June 2019

Mathurage Don Kusal Janith Perera (Sinhala: කුසල් පෙරේරා
Tamil: குசல் ஜனித் பெரேரா); born 17 August 1990), more commonly known as Kusal Perera, is a professional Sri Lankan cricketer. He plays all forms of the game for the Sri Lanka national cricket team, and currently one of the permanent middle order batsman in all formats. He was a key member of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 winning team.

He smashed 153 not out against South Africa in the first Test at Durban in 2019 to snatch the victory from the hands of South Africa by adding 78 runs for the last wicket with Vishwa Fernando in the match in the 4th innings of the Test match. That innings is named as the greatest test innings of All time in the history of 140 years test cricket by Golden Wiilow 25.[1]

In domestic cricket, he plays for the Wayamba cricket team.[2]

Early cricket[edit]

Educated at Kottawa Dharmapala Maha Vidyalaya,[3] and Royal College Colombo, he has represented the later in the prestigious Royal–Thomian annual cricket encounter.[4] Even though Kusal was a right-handed batsman at the younger age of 11 to 13 years, he later switched his stance to become a left-handed batsman. This switch has been influenced by the batting stance of the Sri Lankan legend, Sanath Jayasuriya - his childhood idol and hero.

Domestic career[edit]

He made his IPL debut playing for Rajasthan Royals in the 2013 IPL season.[5]

Prior to the start of the 2018 IPL season, he was approached by the Sunrisers Hyderabad team to replace their former captain David Warner who was banned for ball-tampering scandal against South Africa.[6][7] However he turned down the offer as he was devoted to play in the domestic league matches in Sri Lanka during the period and wanted to make a Test return into the Sri Lankan cricket team for the upcoming series against West Indies in June, 2018.[8][9][10] Later Alex Hales was called up to replace Warner for the 2018 IPL season following the refusal of Kusal Perera.[11]

He is known as a quick scorer, and can hit the ball very hard which has a same batting style of former Sri Lanka legend Sanath Jayasuriya. In a first class match he scored 330 off 270 balls, which is a domestic record.

In March 2018, he was named as the vice-captain of Dambulla's squad for the 2017–18 Super Four Provincial Tournament.[12][13] The following month, he was also named as the captain of Dambulla's squad for the 2018 Super Provincial One Day Tournament.[14]

In August 2018, he was named as the vice-captain of Kandy's squad the 2018 SLC T20 League.[15]

International career[edit]

Debut years[edit]

Perera was a part of a 15-man squad that toured Australia in January 2013. He made his One day international debut against Australia in the 2nd ODI on January 13, 2013, replacing the injured Dinesh Chandimal, where he came to bat on number 4 and scored an unbeaten 14 from 16 balls before Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets.

Perera made his T20I debut in the first T20I against Australia in January 2013 and scored 33 from 22 balls before getting caught behind off Australian all rounder, Glenn Maxwell. In this match he hit some aggressive shots and many compared him with Sanath Jayasuriya.

After the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara, his position remained vacant for a new player and Kusal was brought into the team. He made his Test debut for Sri Lanka against India on 28 August 2015. His arrival to the test team was not good at all, when he dropped Indian skipper Virat Kohli in fairly easy catch. But then he took 2 catches and 1 stumping in that innings. He showed his batting talents right on the first innings of the match, where he was the top scorer for Sri Lanka with 56 runs in first innings.[16] In second innings as well, he scored 70 runs to be the 2nd Sri Lankan batsman to score 2 successive half centuries on Test debut after Dinesh Chandimal. But eventually Sri Lanka lost the match and also the series against India.[17]

Aggressive opening success[edit]

On 13 December 2013 he scored 84 runs from 59 balls against Pakistan and Sri Lanka and went on to score a massive total of 211. Sri Lanka won the match by 24 runs and Perera earned the Man of the Match for the performance.[18] Perera hit his maiden ODI ton against Bangladesh on 22 February 2014. He scored 106 from 124 balls before getting bowled By Rubel Hossain. He won the "Man of the Match" award.

On 22 March 2014 against South Africa in 2014 ICC World Twenty20 pool match, Perera scored 61 runs from just 40 balls. Sri Lanka won the match by 5 runs and Perera won the Man of The Match award.[19] He scored 125 runs in the tournament at an average of 20.83 and an impressive strike rate of 145.48. He had some quick runs in the next matches, but failed to effect larger to the team. However, Sri Lanka won their first T20I title by defeating India in the final.

Perera was not qualified for the squad for 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup tournament due to poor performance against India and England. After the tournament starts, Dimuth Karunaratne was injured and Perera was called to the World Cup squad. He played his first World Cup match against Scotland on 11 March 2015, where he scored quick 24 runs. He was replaced to this match due to injury for Dinesh Chandimal against Australia.[20] He opened the batting for Sri Lanka on quarter finals of the World Cup, where he failed again to score runs, only scored 3 runs. Sri Lanka eventually lost the match and quit from the World Cup as well.

After the retirement of two cricket legends Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena from ODIs, Kusal was brought to the squad as the permanent opening batsman with Tillakaratne Dilshan during ODI series against Pakistan. He just lost the first match for quick 26 runs in Dambulla. In the second match at Pallekele, Kusal smashed Pakistani pace bowlers to all the parts of the ground and scored the joint second fastest ODI fifty by 17 balls with his legendary master Sanath Jayasuriya 17-ball fifty in 1997. The shots of Kusal was described by the international commentators as the dawn of a new Little Sana, with just the same aggressive batting by Sanath in the past. The strike rate of Kusal's innings was 272 and it is now the highest strike rate in an innings of 50 or more runs by a Sri Lanka batsman in ODIs, which he also surpassed his master Jayasuriya's strike rate of 271.42 in 1996 against same opposition.[21]

Sri Lanka scored 92 in 9 overs in the match until Kusal departs to 25-ball 68 runs, where Sri Lanka chased down 287 runs and won the match by 2 wickets at the end. This win gave the highest ever ODI run chase in Pallekele and second highest run chase in Sri Lankan soil.[22]

During the 2nd ODI match against West Indies, Kusal got out to 99 runs, just one short to his third century. He is the fourth Sri Lankan player to get out in 99 in ODIs, the other three are Kaluwitharana single time, Jayasuriya in two times, and Dilshan single time. He is the 29th of all cricketers to dismissed in 99.[23][24]

Injury concerns[edit]

Kusal was included to the original squad for 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and played first two pool games as well. However, during the match against India, Kusal suffered by a hamstring injury and he retired hurt after scoring 47 runs. He was immediately ruled out of the Champions Trophy and Dhananjaya de Silva was replaced Kusal in the tournament.[25]

His injuries continuously rose when he entered to the playing eleven. Perera was ruled out of the Bangladesh Tri-series after a side strain occurred during his 49 runs against Zimbabwe on 21 January 2018. Before that, he also scored 80 runs against Zimbabwe, where Sri Lanka lost the match after his wicket.[26] Kusal was injured several times in his career, where he missed many bilateral tournaments in 2016-17 seasons.

False doping charge[edit]

Perera initially tested positive for a banned substance and was recalled from the New Zealand tour in December 2015. His urine sample was provided for a random test by the International Cricket Council during the home series against Pakistan in May 2015.[27] He said that he took some medicine for a leech bite.[28][29] After the A sample became positive, Kusal himself with the help of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board asked for the testing of the B sample, which was tested at Qatar. On 25 December 2015, the results of the B sample came back and it revealed that Kusal was positive for the banned substance. Meanwhile, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara informed that there is a conspiracy behind this scandal is to withdraw Kusal from 2016 ICC World Twenty20 tournament due to his effectiveness in the format.[30] If the B sample was positive, he was likely to face a four-year ban.[31][32][33][34]

On 11 May 2016, he was cleared of the charges.[35] The integrity of the laboratory that tested the sample was brought into question, with the ICC hiring an independent expert to find that the lab's outcome was not sustainable.[35] Perera had spent some of his own money on fighting the charges, including travelling to the UK to undergo further tests to clear his name.[36] After being cleared, Perera said that "I don't think there has been much damage done to my reputation", after the media, fans and Sri Lankan Cricket Board stood by him.[36] On July 6, ICC has agreed to support Sri Lanka Cricket and Kusal Perera's claim for costs and damages from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).[37]

Ups and downs[edit]

After cleared from doping suspects, Kusal replaced injured seamer Dhammika Prasad in Sri Lanka Test squad for the rest of the England tour.[38][39] He played for the third test at Lord's and scored 42 runs in the first innings. Sri Lanka finally was able to drawn the match.[40]

Perera scored his maiden Test century on 29 October 2016, against Zimbabwe in the first Test against the, at Harare. The score consisted wide range of thrashing shot, which was compared to Jayasuriya by Zimbabweans who witnessed this for the first time in their soil. Perera devastated the Zimbabwean bowling attack for 15 fours and two sixes, including taking debutant Carl Mumba for five fours in an over after the tea break.[41]

After poor performances in South African test tour, Perera was dropped from the ODI and T20I squad. He was renamed to the squad in late March 2017 for Bangladesh limited over series, however could not play in ODI series due to hamstring injury.[42] However, he passed fitness test for T20I series and played his comeback match on 4 April 2017. He marked his comeback by strong note with match winning 77 runs off 55 balls, where Sri Lanka won the match by 6 wickets. Perera adjudged man of the match for his performance.[43]

During the first T20I against India in 2018 Nidahas Trophy, he smashed a match-winning 66 runs to chase down India's total of 174. Sri Lanka won the match and Kusal was awarded with man of the match.[44]

On 16 March 2018 against Bangladesh in the Tri-series, Kusal recorded his tenth T20I fifty by equaling second most number of T20I fifties by a Sri Lankan. The match was a semi-final encounter between the two sides, where the winner should meet India in the Nidahas Trophy final. Sri Lanka batted first and lost first five wickets for just 41 runs. The team was at the brink of defeating in huge margin against new rivals, Bangladesh. However, Kusal together with stand-in captain Thisara Perera recorded a 97-run partnership for the sixth wicket, which was recorded as the second highest 6th wicket runstand in T20I history and the highest 6th wicket partnership for Sri Lanka in T20Is. The considerable role and rebuilding of team from 41/5 to 159/7 highlighted as one of the great counterattacking efforts T20Is.[45]

During the same match, he broke Kumar Sangakkara's record to become the fastest Sri Lankan to reach 1000 T20I runs (34 innings).[46][47] Kusal Perera also became the first player to score 5 T20I fifties against a same opposition (Bangladesh) after registering the most number of T20I fifties by any player in T20I history.[48]

In May 2018, he was one of 33 cricketers to be awarded a national contract by Sri Lanka Cricket ahead of the 2018–19 season.[49][50]

Injury in 2018[edit]

During the third Test against the West Indies, at Kensington Oval, Perera hurt himself while attempting a catch at the long-on boundary and he intercepted a slog, but finally he lost control with the momentum from his leap taking him beyond the boundary. Then he overbalanced and crashed into the advertising boards, which made him landing awkwardly on his front. He was immediately rushed to hospital for a scan. On next day, team manager Gurusinha spokes that, Kusal has cleared from serious injuries.[51]

On fifth day of the match, Perera came into bat for the sixth wicket, where Sri Lanka still required more than 60 runs to win the match and level the series. Wickets fell in close intervals, but Kusal along with Dilruwan Perera survived the awkward bounce and chest high pitched deliveries and added unbeaten 63 runs for the sixth wicket. Kusal had several bandages around the chest region and showed some pain during the match. However, Sri Lanka won the match and leveled the series 1-1.[52]

During the England tour in October, Perera suffered a quad strain after the second ODI and omitted from the squad. He was replaced by Kusal Mendis in both ODIs and T20Is.[53]

Leading batting lineup[edit]

On 3 January 2019 against New Zealand, Perera scored his fourth ODI century. The century was recorded as the first century scored by a Sri Lankan after more than a year. Despite his century, Sri Lanka lost the match by 45 runs.[54]

Due to excellent ODI form against New Zealand in 2019, Perera was recalled for the Test series against Australia.[55] During second Test at Canberra, Perera forced to retire hurt after sustaining a nasty blow to the side of the helmet off a Jhye Richardson bouncer.[56] The incidence occurred in the 53rd over, where the ball hitting him flush on the side of the helmet, next to his right ear. Both the side protector and the rear inserts that protect the neck came off the helmet. Even though after immediate medical attention, he continued to bat four more Richardson deliveries, he appeared to be feeling the effects of the blow. With that he decided to retired hurt in that innings and never came to the crease. In the second innings he got out for golden duck off Mitchell Starc.[57]

On 16 February 2019, Perera scored his second test century by giving a thrilling win against South Africa.[58] He scored a fifty in the first innings and in the second innings, South Africa posted 304 runs to win the match. Sri Lanka started the match positively, but wickets at regular intervals eyeing a comfortable win for Proteas. With Dhananjaya de Silva, Perera had a 96-run partnership and Sri Lanka came close to the winning mark. However, after de Silva's wicket and three more quick wickets, the match again shifted to South Africa. Finally, Vishwa Fernando came to the crease as last batsman, where Perera started to accelerate the innings. He scored unbeaten 153 runs and secure a thrilling one wicket win. The 78-run partnership between Perera and Fernando was recorded as the highest last-wicket stand in a successful chase in test cricket history. It was Sri Lanka's second one wicket win in Tests. Kusal Perera's score of 153* recorded as the highest by a Sri Lanka batsman in a successful chase and one of top-10 individual scores in successful chases.[59][60] Kusal Perera's innings is considered as the greatest chase in the history of the game.[61] He won the man of the match award for match winning batting performance.[62] Sri Lanka won the second test with 8 wickets and sealed the series 2-0. Due to top class batting in the first match, Perera adjudged player of the series award and finished as the highest run scorer of the series.[63]

In April 2019, he was named in Sri Lanka's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.[64][65] During second World cup match he scored valuable 78 runs against Afghanistan. Sri Lankan batting line up fell to the Afghan spinners and only scored 201 in their 50 overs. However with excellent bowling by Nuwan Pradeep and Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka won the match by 34 runs in DLS method.[66]

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