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Northamptonshire capture New Zealand pacemen Ian Butler and Neil Wagner

Ian Butler is eligible until July. Credit: PA

Northamptonshire have signed New Zealand international bowlers Ian Butler and Neil Wagner.

Both players have signed from Cricket Otago in their native country.

Butler joins the county straight away, and will stay until late July.

The 32-year-old has previously played for Nottinghamshire and Gloucestershire.

Neil Wagner will join later. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Wagner will arrive for the final five LV= County Championship matches of the campaign.

He enjoyed a good series against England last year, and will join up with his new teammates after the Blackcaps tour to the West Indies.

England Captain Cook says he feels well supported by new coaching set up

Alastair Cook Credit: PA

Alastair Cook is confident he has the full support of the new-look England set-up, having questioned his position as captain after the Ashes.

The Essex star said: "I was asked about (my future) after Sydney and after a long, gruelling winter, I gave it consideration," he said. "I think it would be wrong if I didn't.

"If you don't question your position as leader then, you never will."

"The ECB, since Paul Downton's come in, they've backed me and we've got to justify that confidence"

He said: "It was nice that the guys I spoke to, other members of the side, were very supportive and that's good to hear. I spoke to Stuart Broad and others and they said 'no, you must carry on'."


Banned Essex cricketer Danish Kaneria loses High Court battle

Danish Kaneria. Credit: PA images.

Former Essex and Pakistan cricketer Danish Kaneria has lost a High Court fight with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The player was given a life ban after a disciplinary panel concluded that he had encouraged a team-mate to under-perform - by deliberately conceding runs - during a limited overs game against Durham in 2009 and brought cricket into disrepute.

The decision was upheld by an appeal panel in 2013.

But Kaneria decided to take High Court action - claiming that the ECB appeal panel had been wrong to uphold the life ban and wrong to order him to pay ECB legal costs of £200,000.

Today a High Court judge dismissed those claims at a hearing in London.

Mr Justice Hamblen said the appeal panel had not exceeded its powers and there were no grounds for suggesting an error of law had been made.

Northamptonshire in good spirits ahead of the new cricket season

While there's little joy to be found from England's winter, in the domestic game Northamptonshire have plenty to look forward to.

But they have been dealt an early blow with South African bowler Rory Kleinveldt forced out of his overseas player contract because of injury - the latest in a long line. But that apart, they're in good spirits, as Jim Rice reports.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Jim Rice


Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara in double England delight

Ravi Bopara has been called up to two England squads. Credit: PA

Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara has been named in both England's World Twenty20 squad and the one-day party to tour the West Indies.

England travel to the Caribbean to play three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches in early March, before heading to Bangladesh to take part in the World T20 tournament soon after.

Joy for Cook as his side finally wins a match

Alastair Cook Credit: PA

England captain Alastair Cook breathed a sigh of relief after watching his side clinch a 57-run victory over Australia in the fourth one-day international in Perth.

England risked losing a 10th straight match on their tour Down Under but instead triumphed for the first time after 91 miserable days as Australia failed to score the required 317 runs at the WACA.

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes were Cook's key men, the former scoring 71 runs off 43 balls while the latter excelled with bat and ball, adding 70 runs and taking four wickets.

He told Sky Sports: "It's been a while since we've had this feeling and a couple of dropped catches at the end just made us wait a little longer.

"But all in all it was a pretty good performance.

"It's been a frustrating tour, we've played a long way below our potential. Then you see glimpses like today where we know the standard we can play to, so we know it's there."

Essex handed a boost as Ravi Bopara signs contract extension

Ravi Bopara in ODI action for England against Australia in September. Credit: PA

Essex have announced that England cricketer Ravi Bopara has signed a new one-year contract with the club.

28-year-old Bopara has been with Essex since 2002, and has played nearly 150 First-Class matches for the county.

The all-rounder's new deal will run until the end of the 2014 season, and Bopara says that he is happy to be staying with the club:

“I am delighted to have signed a new contract with the club for a further year," he told the Essex official website.

"I was pleased with how my season went in 2013 both domestically and Internationally for Essex and England, respectively.

"I am now looking to continue this form into the new season with Essex where we can hopefully win some silverware.”

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