Essex County Cricket Club have revealed their annual accounts.
The club made a small loss of £82,000 last year, but 2015 is looking more positive after tickets for the Australia tour match in July virtually sold out.
The T20 Blast tickets also selling well.
"In financial terms, 2014 turned out to be very similar to the previous year. This is despite the team reaching two Quarter-Finals and the sterling efforts of our highly efficient and highly regarded commercial team.
In the first season of the new format for County Cricket, net ticket and hospitality income was up compared to the previous year. Again T20 matches provided the lion's share and it remains to be seen whether the Royal London One-Day Cup played in the height of summer attracts more spectators in 2015.
With the same format as 2014 continuing and with four days against the Australians, the budget for 2015 looks a little healthier."
Northamptonshire have signed Pakistan big-hitter Shahid Afridi for the start of this season's T20 blast competition.
The all-rounder is one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket, and holds the record for the most sixes in the history of one-day internationals with 342.
The 34-year-old is also a more than capable leg spinner and has taken 81 wickets for his country in T20 internationals.
Afridi will be available for six of Northants' fixtures, starting with the trip to Durham on May 15.
“This is a very exciting signing for us. Shahid is without doubt the most outstanding spin bowling all-rounder in one day international cricket of the last 5 years.
He is a fierce competitor and undoubted match winner with bat and ball”.
Alastair Cook says he is "gutted" to have been left out of England's World Cup squad.
The Essex cricketer and former Bedfordshire schoolboy has been replaced by Eoin Morgan as captain.
"I am gutted to be left out of the World Cup squad, and it is likely to take me a while to get over the disappointment.
"That said I wish Peter, Eoin and the lads all the best for the World Cup.
"I would also like to thank all the players and fans who have supported me during my time as one-day captain."
Essex cricketer Alastair Cook has been replaced as England's World Cup captain - and will not feature at all in the team's 15-man squad.
The England and Wales Cricket ball confirmed the change on Saturday morning.
It follows the 29-year-old's poor form in one-day internationals over the past year - and an equally poor performance by his team.
A statement from the ECB said:
"ECB today announced that Eoin Morgan has replaced Alastair Cook as England one-day captain with immediate effect.
"England selectors met yesterday to pick a 15-man one-day squad for the tour to Australia and the ICC Cricket World Cup.
"Selectors recommended to managing director England cricket Paul Downton a change in captaincy which has now been approved by the ECB chairman."
The board is due to announce its squad at 11am on Saturday.
Former Bedfordshire schoolboy Cook, who will turn 30 on Christmas Day, will continue as England Test captain.
Cricket clubs in the region have given a cautious welcome to proposals for a domestic competition modelled on football's FA Cup.
The idea is the brainchild of former England captain Michael Vaughan.
He wants the English Cricket Board to consider a national Twenty20 knock-out cup featuring club sides, minor counties and universities, with professional counties like Northamptonshire and Essex entering in the latter stages.
"I think it could reignite amateur cricket, and I think when amateur cricket and professional cricket can work together in certain competitions, I think it's a good thing.
It gives people a dream."
Essex spinner Tim Phillips has announced his retirement from cricket with immediate effect.
The 33-year-old has played for the county since 1999, and has predominantly been used in the limited overs form of the game in recent years.
“I have enjoyed my career and the friendships I have made during my 16 years representing Essex CCC but I am really excited to start a new challenge.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish the club all the best for the future.”
Alastair Cook has vowed to stay on as England captain, despite his team slipping to yet another defeat against India at Lord's.
The Essex star has been heavily criticised by pundits and fans alike following a disastrous run of ten tests without a win.
England's last ten test results
- England v Australia (The Oval) - Match drawn (Aug 13)
- Australia v England (Brisbane) - Australia won by 381 runs (Nov 13)
- Australia v England (Adelaide) - Australia won by 218 runs (Dec 13)
- Australia v England (Perth) - Australia won by 150 runs (Dec 13)
- Australia v England (Melbourne) - Australia won by 8 wickets (Dec 13)
- Australia v England (Sydney) - Australia won by 281 runs (Jan 14)
- England v Sri Lanka (Lord's) - Match drawn (June 14)
- England v Sri Lanka (Leeds) - Sri Lanka won by 100 runs (June 14)
- England v India (Nottingham) - Match drawn (July 14)
- England v India (Lord's) - India won by 95 runs (July 14)
Cook's own form with the bat has suffered as well, with the 29-year-old having not hit a century in over a year.
Despite the poor sequence of results, Cook says he won't be standing down any time soon.
"It gets harder and harder the more we don't win, and of course it all heaps on me.
But until that bloke taps me on the shoulder and says we don't want you to be captain, I'm desperate to try and turn this around for England.
If I'm not good enough at the end of the summer, then so be it, but I am trying my heart out to do this."
Alastair Cook's future as England captain could be in doubt after the Essex star failed once again with the bat.
The 29-year-old could only manage 22 in his second innings against India, to follow-up a score of 10 in his first knock.
It means that Cook now hasn't hit a century in 27 test innings, and his captaincy credentials have also come into question.
Cook's woes with the bat
- Cook's last century was against New Zealand in May 2013. He hit 130 at Headingley.
- Since then, he's averaged just over 24.
With England on 105-4 going into the final day at Lord's, and chasing an unlikely target of 319 to win, a ninth consecutive test without a win looks a real possibility.
Many pundits now think that enough in enough, including former skipper Michael Vaughan who told The Telegraph that taking the captaincy away from Cook could help to revitalise his career.
"We have reached the stage with Cook when he cannot be enjoying cricket. You don’t when you are not playing well and the team is struggling.
It is easy for the England and Wales Cricket Board to say it is going to stick by him but it has to ask what is best for the team and for Cook.
The ECB has a responsibility to Cook the person to do the right thing and if that means taking the captaincy away then so be it."
Cook can only sit and hope that the rest of the England batsmen can get him out of jail today, but anything less than a win would surely lead to serious questions about his fate.
Essex star prepares for Lord's clashRead the full story ›
While Essex star Alastair Cook fights for test form as England cricket captain, there's pressure of a different kind for his county club.Read the full story ›