Somerset dealt blow with loss of Rehman
Somerset's hopes of avoiding relegation in the County Championship have been dealt a crushing blow with the news that Abdur Rehman, the left-arm spinner, has been named in the Pakistan Test and ODI squad to tour Zimbabwe and will not be available to fulfil his county contract.
Rehman, who claimed 27 championship wickets in four games for Somerset in 2012, was seen as key to the club's survivalt. It was hoped that his style would prove particularly useful on dry, late-season wickets. Somerset are currently seventh in Division One - one place about the relegation zone - but Surrey are only eight points behind and have a game in hand.
While Alviro Petersen is currently fulfilling the role of overseas player, the club's director of cricket, Dave Nosworthy, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that Petersen would not be staying at the club to fill in for Rehman.
Instead the club hope to announce another signing within the next few days. It is understood that the club are currently close to securing another player, with work progressing on a work permit. But their options in the overseas player market are not extensive. Several international teams are engaged, the Caribbean Premier League is in full swing and there are some A tours in progress too.
"Rehman would miss, by my reckoning, four of the five four-day games we had planned for him," Nosworthy told ESPNcricinfo. "So we're looking at Option B. Petersen will not be staying with us.
"Things have been tough in various sways, but we still have hopes in the limited-overs competitions and I'm confident we can improve our four-day form.
"Everyone knows that we have a couple of big name players - Nick Compton and Jos Buttler - out of contract. But we want them to stay, we're offered them new contracts and work goes on to continue to persuade them."
While Somerset's red ball form has been disappointing, they have performed much better in white ball cricket. They are currently top of the Yorkshire Bank 40 Group C table and have reached the quarter-finals of the Friend Life t20. Somerset were second in the County Championship in 2012 but replaced their previous director of cricket, Brian Rose, with Nosworthy at the end of the season.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo