Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera, in an exclusive interview with a local newspaper in Sri Lanka, has confirmed that he was approached by New Zealand to play for their national team.
Perera, after a mini lay off returned to the national team with two-match winning performances with both bat and ball against Pakistan in the home series, which earned him the Man of the Series award. Speaking to Lakbima, a Sinhala news paper, Perera said that there was an invitation for him to play for the Kiwis.
"Yes, first they promised me to grant citizenship, and they said, later I can get into the New Zealand team step by step. The recent happenings to me had deeply disappointed me, which made me contemplate about the invitation. I thought I should side the one who recognizes me. Hence, I thought about it a lot. Later I realized my country deserves top priority,” he said.
When asked what deeply disappointed him in the recent times, Perera refused to answer, saying: “I cannot tell you that now. The day I quit Cricket, when time is right, I will tell you.”
It is firmly believed that the 25-year-old had a fall out with the chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya who barred him from playing from any major T20 leagues. Perera, when he requested for a No-Objection Certificate to play in the Caribbean Premiere League, was turned down and was asked to be a part of the A team that toured England.
He withdrew from the team and was later said to have had mental distress. There were rumors circulating in the island that Perera was going to quit playing for Sri Lanka. Later, President Mahinda Rajapkashe had to intervene to settle the issue.
The standoff between the selectors and the all-rounder seems to have finally come to an end, with Jayasuriya stating that Perera is an integral part of Sri Lanka’s plans for the World Cup next year.