Abdur Rehman gets top marks for his dedication to Somerset cricket
ABDUR Rehman has earned "ten out of ten" from Brian Rose, after committing to fly through the night from the United Arab Emirates to make himself available for today's LV= County Championship game at Hove.
The Pakistan spinner was in action for his country in last night's one-day international against Australia in Sharjah – and was then heading straight to the airport to catch a flight to Gatwick.
He is expected to be available for the majority of Somerset's match against Sussex, although Jack Leach has travelled to Hove to provide cover in the event of his arrival being delayed.
Leach is on standby as George Dockrell's involvement in Somerset's season is over, following his call-up to Ireland's pre-World Twenty20 training camp in Sri Lanka. Somerset had initially believed the 20-year-old would be available for this game and would only miss next week's County Championship finale against Worcestershire.
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Batting-wise, Nick Compton is yet to recover from a back injury, while Jos Buttler can play in the first two days of this match, before joining up with the England Twenty20 squad. Steve Snell will either play as a wicketkeeping/batting substitute for Buttler – or from the start, with Alex Barrow replacing Buttler from day three.
In further news, Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose has confirmed he has registered an interest in signing both Glamorgan seamer James Harris – who has been strongly linked with a move to Nottinghamshire – and Saj Mahmood, who is on loan at Taunton from Lancashire. "Yes, we have registered an interest in James Harris, as we have one or two other players, including Saj, who has done well for us," said Rose, who is eager to bolster his seam bowling resources over the winter.
Where today's game is concerned, Rose was full of praise for Rehman's dedication to the Somerset cause. The spinner's initial arrival at Taunton was delayed by visa issues, but, since arriving, Rose has had nothing but praise for his attitude and performance.
"Rehman is flying overnight after the ODI and will arrive at Gatwick in the morning, so he will play," said Rose. "We have dispensation, as he is an international player returning from international duty, to play a replacement if he is an hour or two late.
"I am really impressed with what he is doing, because he is showing great commitment to Somerset.
"We got a bit of stick from one or two members, in terms of signing a guy who was then called up by Pakistan.
"But, at the time, Pakistan weren't playing any ODIs and Rehman had his NOC (no-objection certificate) to play in all of our remaining games. They then rearranged these fixtures, which included some ODI cricket.
"He has played over in the United Arab Emirates for eight days and now he is fulfilling his contract and coming back to play for us.
"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."
Somerset (from): M Trescothick, A Suppiah, C Jones, J Hildreth, J Buttler, S Snell, A Barrow, P Trego, A Rehman, A Thomas, S Mahmood, S Kirby, G Hussain, L Gregory, J Leach.