County news January 15, 2016

Lancashire sign Wagner for 2016

Neil Wagner's pace and aggression will strengthen Lancashire's Championship challenge © AFP

Lancashire have signed Neil Wagner as their overseas player for the majority of their 2016 first-class season.

Wagner, the New Zealand left-arm seamer, will be available from the start of the County Championship season and will feature primarily in that competition. He will be available until at least the end of July and could be available for the entire season if not required for New Zealand's tour of South Africa.

He has currently taken 67 wickets from his 18 Tests. He has previously had a brief spell in county cricket with Northamptonshire - he came into a struggling side in 2014 and took only 10 first-class wickets in five matches at a cost of 72.80 apiece - and has also played club cricket in the region for Ormskirk in 2008. He claimed five wickets in an over while playing for Otago against Wellington in April 2011.

His aggression, stamina and commitment should render him a useful addition to a Lancashire side that was promoted back to Division One at the end of last year. With the top division almost certain to shrink to eight teams (from nine) at the end of 2016, Lancashire will have little opportunity to consolidate.

"We are delighted to have brought in Neil Wagner to strengthen our bowling attack," Lancashire coach, Ashley Giles, said. "Neil is a world class bowler with a tremendous pedigree and having him available for such an extended period will give our Division One campaign a real boost."

"I am extremely excited to play for such a great club," Wagner said. "I have always admired Lancashire, ever since playing in the Liverpool Lancashire league for Ormskirk in 2008."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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