Cricket: Essex sign Australian bowler

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ESSEX have signed the Australian fast bowler, Michael Kasprowicz, on a one-year contract as the county's overseas player for the 1994 season.

Kasprowicz, 21, plays under Allan Border for Queensland and was the second leading wicket-taker in Australian first-class cricket last season with 51 victims at 24.13.

Essex, who had a poor 1993 campaign, have moved to strengthen their fast bowling following the retirement of Neil Foster in July because of persistent knee trouble.

Kasprowicz, who has toured England with the Australian Under-19 team and is pushing for a full Test place, will replace Salim Malik, the Pakistani batsman, as Essex's overseas player - provided he passes a medical in April.

Essex have also signed the Lancashire all-rounder Ronnie Irani, 22, on a two-year contract.