In what comes as a major blow for Sri Lanka, wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Perera is all but sure to miss the limited-overs series against India. He did not train with the team due to a shoulder injury, according to a Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) official. Now, reports suggests he won't be taking the field for six weeks.
Perera recently led Sri Lanka for a white-ball series in England. They were blanked 3-0 in the T20 International (T20I) series and then lost 2-0 in the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series. As a result, there are reports that suggest Dasun Shanaka could take over as Sri Lanka captain for the India series. Perera's absence is a major blow to Sri Lanka's chances against India. The former captain is the second-highest run-scorer for Sri Lanka in ODIs since 2020 with 332 runs at an average of 36.9. The third and fourth entry on the list - Danushka Gunathilaka (271) and Kusal Mendis (255) - are also not available as both are serving their one-year suspension for breaching the bio-bubble protocols in England.
Niroshan Dickwella was the third Sri Lankan cricketer to be suspended on the similar lines. Dickwella is the back-up wicketkeeping-batsman in Sri Lanka's white-ball setup. Perera's unavailability is hence a double whammy for Sri Lanka given they lose a top batsman as well as they have none of their two wicketkeeping options available to select.
The players and SLC were recently involved in a contract tussle. Other seniors like Dinesh Chandimal and Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne are yet to put pen on paper.
(report updated based on fresh inputs from PTI)