THISARA Perera has been called back to Sri Lanka and will miss the remainder of Gloucestershire’s NatWest T20 Blast campaign.

The 28-year-old all-rounder was summoned to attend a training camp for his country’s international squad ahead of a one-day series against India and has already left the county.

Head coach Richard Dawson announced the shock news ahead of tomorrow’s (Friday) South Group clash with Sussex at Hove.

Perera has claimed ten wickets in seven group matches with his seam bowling since joining Gloucestershire during the Cheltenham Festival.

He took over as an overseas player for the NatWest Blast from Cameron Bancroft, who appeared in the first two group games.

Dawson said: “It is a blow losing Thisara, but we are hoping to re-register Cameron for the remainder of the competition.

“He batted well for us in the early matches, so hopefully he can come in and do a good job as we look to qualify for the knock-out stage.

"We knew there was a possibility of Thisara having to return to Sri Lanka at some stage, but it has happened a bit sooner than expected."

Bancroft made 51 and 34 not out against Middlesex and Kent respectively as Gloucestershire made a strong start to their group campaign.

Perera didn’t fire with the bat, but proved himself a valuable bowler in the power plays and at the death.

His dismissal of Jacques Rudolph with what proved the final ball of Glamorgan’s innings earned victory under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system in the rain-affected match at Cardiff, which otherwise would have ended in a tie.

Gloucestershire go into the Sussex game on 12 points from ten South Group matches and well placed for the top four finish needed to qualify for the quarter-finals.

David Payne is among the leading wicket-takers in the competition with 13, having claimed three for 29 in the derby victory over Somerset at Bristol last Friday night.

Dawson said: “David has been a very consistent performer in all forms of cricket this season. He has worked on a few things with his T20 bowling and it is paying off.

“His bowling in the power-plays has been excellent and he has benefitted from being a regular member of our NatWest T20 Blast team.”

Two victories from their last four group matches should be enough to see Gloucestershire progress, but Dawson is taking nothing for granted.

“It has been such a strange group with all the teams capable of beating each other,” he said. “We must simply set out to win all out remaining fixtures because it is too close to call at the moment.”