Drugs test failure is sad finale for county champions

The season has ended on a sour note for the county champions Warwickshire yesterday with the news that one of their players has failed a drug test, believed to be for cocaine.

The season has ended on a sour note for the county champions Warwickshire yesterday with the news that one of their players has failed a drug test, believed to be for cocaine.

Ian Smith, the Professional Cricketers' Association lawyer acting for the player, said: "I can't confirm the identity of the player - I'm not in a position to do so. He is only appearing before a preliminary hearing."

The player has been summoned to appear before an England and Wales Cricket Board preliminary disciplinary hearing at Lord's on Monday, in accordance with the game's anti-doping regulations.

The drug traces allegedly found in the player's urine are believed to be of a recreational nature rather than performance-enhancing. The unnamed player becomes the third Warwickshire cricketer to be caught up in a drugs scandal after Paul Smith and Keith Piper, both in 1997.

In yesterday's draw for the first round of the C&G Trophy, Warwickshire were drawn away to the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Middlesex have appointed Ben Hutton as captain in succession to Andrew Strauss, who has been given a central contract with England. Hutton, grandson of Sir Len, stood in for the official vice-captain Ed Joyce (after Owais Shah had been sacked from the role) and enjoyed a deal of success, helping Middlesex to secure promotion to the first division of the National League as well as helping them to fourth place in the Championship.

The Worcestershire batsman Kadeer Ali is poised to move to Gloucestershire on a four-year contract.

Worcestershire's chief executive Mark Newton confirmed Gloucestershire had approached the county for permission to speak to Kadeer whose contract expires at the end of this month.

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