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 Test player 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 this summer.
However, those hopes, which were already looking very restricted by the international cricket calendar, now seem to be 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 a 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 and Wales Cricket Board 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 Championship. If it is confirmed Rehman tested positive for a recreational drug, the club would be likely to escape censure, though.