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Essex's Cook named captain in ICC Team of the Year

Alastair Cook. Credit: PA

Essex batsman Alastair Cook has been named captain of the International Cricket Council's Test Team of the Year.

The 31-year-old, who is under pressure after his England side lost their recent series in India 4-0, is one of four Englishman picked with Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow also selected.

The team was put together by Rahul Dravid, Gary Kirsten and Kumar Sangakkara, with voting closing in September - a couple of months before England's heavy defeats in Asia.

England have since slipped to 5th in the world rankings and lost eight test matches in the calendar year.

  • ICC Test Team of the Year 2016

David Warner (Australia), Alastair Cook (England) (captain), Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Joe Root (England), Adam Voges (Australia), Jonny Bairstow (England) (wicketkeeper), Ben Stokes (England), R. Ashwin (India), Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka), Mitchell Starc (Australia), Dale Steyn (South Africa)

Essex sign New Zealand test bowler Wagner

Neil Wagner will spend half of next season with Essex. Credit: PA

Essex have signed New Zealand bowler Neil Wagner for the first half of next season.

The 30-year-old will be eligible to play in both the Royal London One-Day Cup and County Championship and will join up with his new teammates in pre-season.

Wagner impressed for Lancashire in Division One last season, taking 32 wickets in his nine games, and has also played 27 tests for his country.

Wagner will be replaced by Pakistan's Mohammad Amir for the second half of the campaign.

Neil will bring vast experience at the highest level to the Club, as well as a skill set that will be valuable in the opening months of the season.

He performed excellently for Lancashire last year and is also useful with the bat lower down the order. Hopefully he can help us hit the ground running in 2017.

– Chris Silverwood, Essex Head Coach

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England collapse to shock test defeat in Bangladesh

Alastair Cook top scored for England. Credit: PA

An opening partnership of 100 runs between Essex's Alastair Cook and Northamptonshire's Ben Duckett couldn't prevent England from suffering a shock defeat to Bangladesh in the second test.

Duckett (56) and Cook (59) had put the tourists in control at tea in Dhaka but a spectacular collapse in the final session sealed a devastating 108-run defeat.

England lost 10 wickets for just 64 runs to be bowled out for just 164, with 19-year-old spinner Mehedi Hasan taking 6-77.

The loss means England are only the third nation to lose a test to Bangladesh, with the Tigers having previously only beaten Zimbabwe and West Indies.

One of cricket's brainiest players to make England debut

Zafar Ansari will make his England debut tomorrow. Credit: PA

Former Cambridge University student Zafar Ansari will make his England debut against Bangladesh tomorrow, captain Alastair Cook has confirmed.

The 24-year-old has a double first degree in Politics and Sociology - making him one of the cleverest players to ever represent his country.

The spinner is likely to replace his Surrey teammate Gareth Batty who played in the first test.

Ansari will be the first Cambridge alumni to play for England since Ed Smith did it in 2003.

England will be hoping to wrap up a 2-0 series win with victory in Dhaka.

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