Fourth time lucky for Northants in overseas hunt?

Can David Ripley's overseas worries finally be put to bed?
Can David Ripley's overseas worries finally be put to bed?
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David Ripley hopes that the frustrating efforts to bring in an overseas player have finally come to an end.

After seeing the trio of Jackson Bird, Rory Kleinveldt and Sohail Tanvir all commit to deals before pulling out due to injury in the first two cases and international commitments in the third, Northamptonshire have now signed New Zealanders Ian Butler and Neil Wagner.

The duo, who play for Otago, have joined until the end of July and for the last five County Championship games respectively and their acquisition should draw an almost laughable situation to a close.

The sight of Butler warming up for the County at Trent Bridge suggests that he will be available for the Natwest t20 Blast opener at Headingley on Friday night and Ripley, who will no doubt have his fingers crossed given previous form, is glad to have him on board.

Butler played in the first of the Steelbacks’ friendly T20 matches against Essex at the County Ground last Friday, and the head coach said: “We’ve needed to get someone in and after all that has happened, Ian is keen to play some cricket.

“He’s here for two months and will be available for the Championship as well so with (Steven) Crook, (David) Willey and (Muhammad) Azharullah, if we can keep them all fit, it gives us the chance to rotate our bowlers.

“It’s fair to say he wasn’t at the top of our list at the start of the summer but I think he’ll do a good job for us and he’s got a good Twenty20 record.”

With regard to Wagner, Richard Levi has already signed up for limited overs cricket so his stint will consist solely of four-day cricket.

Speaking about the left-arm seamer, chief executive David Smith commented: “He comes highly recommended and by all accounts will run in all day.

“That’s the sort of player that we want and he will add something to our attack.”