Abdur Rehman’s chances of returning to Somerset next summer are all but over after it emerged the spinner failed a drugs test during his recent stint with the county.
Somerset had hoped to re-sign the Pakistan star for the 2013 season, following a hugely successful spell at Taunton, in which he took 27 LV= County Championship wickets at an average of 14.19.
But those hopes, which were already looking restricted by the international cricket calendar, now look extinct after the 32-year-old tested positive for an as-yet-unspecified banned substance.
It is believed Rehman tested positive for a recreational, rather than performance-enhancing, drug in a random test after one of his four Championship matches for Somerset this summer.
Depending on the outcome of a test on the player’s ‘B’ sample – if one is requested or required – he looks certain to be banned from all cricket for at least one year.
Somerset were informed in a letter that Rehman, who is now technically a former player of the club, had failed a drugs test. An official statement from the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is understood to be imminent.
Last night, Somerset chief executive Guy Lavender declined the opportunity to comment on Rehman’s failed drugs test, news of which initially broke in Pakistan yesterday morning.
What remains to be seen is whether there will be any sanction for Somerset, who, thanks largely to Rehman’s efforts toward the end of the season, finished as runners-up in the County Championship. If it is confirmed Rehman tested positive for a recreational drug, the club would be likely to escape censure.
The left-arm spinner became a cult hero during his time at Taunton, thanks in no small part to his remarkable performance against Worcestershire in the final match of the season.
He claimed 9-65 in the first innings, before finishing with match figures of 14-101 as Somerset won by an innings within three days.
Rehman also endeared himself to the Somerset players, staff, members and supporters by travelling back from Pakistan’s one-day series in the United Arab Emirates on an overnight flight, before heading straight to Hove to face Sussex.
He was expected to join the Sialkot Stallions’ conditioning camp this week, ahead of the Champions League Twenty20 – but did not turn up to join the squad. Sialkot are set to fly to South Africa on Sunday to play a qualifying round of the tournament. Rehman, who took 19 wickets in three Test matches against England earlier this year, was hailed by Brian Rose during his time at Taunton.
Rose, who stood down as Somerset’s director of cricket at the end of the season, said on September 3: “I can honestly say Abdur is one of the best international players we have had, in terms of his commitment, his attitude and his performances.
“He has fitted in really well and has helped our youngsters, such as Jack Leach. For me, he gets ten out of ten.”