Cricket captain available for Essex

England cricket captain Alastair Cook will be available to play in two of Essex's County Championship matches before the start of the home test series against New Zealand.

The England & Wales Cricket Board say Cook can play against Hampshire (April 29th -May 2nd) and Lancashire (May 7th-10th).

Hoever Cook won't be able to play in his county's 40 over one-day games over the same period.Essex teammate Ravi Bopara has been made available for all county matches.

Meanwhile Cook leads England in the 3rd and deciding test against New Zealand in Auckland later today. The series is tied at 0-0 after the first two games were drawn.