Sri Lanka's sports minister defended Wednesday wicketkeeper Kusal Perera who was suspended from the ongoing New Zealand tour after failing a drugs test, hinting at a conspiracy against the cricketer.
Dayasiri Jayasekera told parliament that authorities will send a "B" sample for testing after the International Cricket Council announced last week that Perera tested positive for a banned steroid during a random check.
"We are doing all we can to defend him," the minister said. "We are wondering if this allegation is a conspiracy to keep him out of next year's T20 World Cup."
Defending champions Sri Lanka are contenders to retake the title when the World T20 takes place from March to April in India next year.
Jayasekera said Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena had spoken to Perera who was abruptly pulled from the series in New Zealand involving two Tests, five ODI games and two T20 matches.
Perera is Sri Lanka's second international player to fail a doping test. Left-hander Upul Tharanga was suspended for three months after testing positive during the 2011 World Cup.
Tharanga blamed a "herbal remedy" that he had taken for a long-standing shoulder injury for failing the doping test.