Sri Lankan opener banned after herbal remedy breaches rules

Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga has been banned for three months by the International Cricket Council after testing positive for a banned substance during the World Cup.

Tharanga, who had not been selected for the one-day series with England due to the charge, pleaded guilty after claiming he had ingested the banned substance in a herbal remedy.

While an ICC disciplinary panel accepted he had not intended to take the drug as a performance-enhancer, a statement from the sport’s world governing body confirmed the 26-year-old had been handed a three-month ban, back-dated from May.

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“The tribunal accepted that Tharanga had ingested the ‘Specified Substances’ when drinking a herbal remedy given to him to ease discomfort caused by a long-standing shoulder injury,” the statement read.

“It also found that Tharanga had no intention to enhance his sporting performance or to mask the use of another performance enhancing substance, but that he had failed to satisfy the high levels of personal responsibility implicit upon him as an international cricketer subject to anti-doping rules.

“Tharanga pleaded guilty to the offence at an early stage in the proceedings.”

Tharanga will be available again from the day before Sri Lanka’s home one-day international series against Australia.

The opener’s positive test was produced after Sri Lanka’s World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand, the match after his unbeaten century sent England crashing out of the tournament with a 10-wicket defeat.

Ireland are set to be given the clearest indication yet on whether they will play in the next World Cup when the International Cricket Council hold their annual conference in Hong Kong next week.

The ICC are set to review the decision to exclude Ireland and their fellow Associate members from the 2015 tournament when the five-day conference begins on Sunday.

The ICC’s April decision to restrict the World Cup to the 10 full-member nations, with no qualification process, was met with widespread condemnation, especially after Ireland’s impressive performances at this year’s showpiece.

The criticism led to ICC president Sharad Pawar to call for a review of the decision, while last month the ICC’s Cricket Committee unanimously recommended that a qualification system be introduced.