Teams Played For
Sri Lanka, Wayamba United, Sri Lanka A, Ruhuna Reds, Rajasthan Royals, Southern Express, Sri Lanka Board Presidents XI, Rangpur Riders, Kandy, Delhi Bulls, Cumilla Warriors
Mathurage Don Kusal Janith Perera, more commonly known as Kusal Perera, plays all forms for the Sri Lankan national cricket team as a wicket-keeping batsman. Perara made a mark in the international arena with his charming left-handed batting style, which purely depends on the short backlift that enables him to hit those cracking back foot punches and square drives, relentlessly.
The southpaw idolizes Sanath Jayasuriya, and just like his hero, Perara has a simple approach of seeing the ball and hitting it. And his childhood hero Jayasuriya played a massive role in Perera’s career. When the latter was just 11-years-old, Jayasuriya changed his grip from being right-handed to left-handed.
Perera was an integral part of Sri Lanka U-19 teams in 2007 and then graduated to the Colts Cricket Club in 2009. At Colts, he built his domestic career on an aggressive yet consistent style of batting. Seeing his swashbuckling approach, the national selectors awarded Perera his first ODI cap in 2013 at Adelaide.
A year later, he scored his maiden ODI ton against Bangladesh, and then came his crowning moment, where he hammered a 17-ball half-century against Pakistan in 2015, to equal his hero Jayasuriya’s record. A month later Perera was handed his Test debut against India in Colombo. During this period, he cemented his place and featured in 2014’s World T20 as well as in the 2015 ODI World Cup.
However, there was a controversy awaiting the stylish batter. Late in 2015, he failed a dope test and tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, named 19-Norandrostenedione. Perera received solid monetary backing from his board and undertook a polygraph test in the UK to prove WADA wrong. And after a halt of seven months, the southpaw made a comeback but couldn’t sustain the level of consistency.
The Sri Lankan also got his chance to play in the Indian T20 extravaganza, the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013, when Rajasthan Royals bought him but he managed to appear only in a couple of games. Then in 2018, Sunrisers Hyderabad asked Perera to replace David Warner, but he turned down the offer to play in Sri Lanka’s domestic league matches.
In 2019, the southpaw transformed himself and started leading the batting lineup. Perera scored a century against New Zealand. Then came another ton against Bangladesh. However, his career-defining knock was against South Africa in the fourth innings of the Durban Test. Sri Lanka was chasing 304 and Perera scored a match-winning 153*, which was later addressed as one of the greatest knocks, while chasing, in the history of the game. Since then, the southpaw is looked upon as the mainstay in the Lankan batting line across formats.
(As of March 2021)