Essex have completed their first new signing for the 2012 season, with former Derbyshire all-rounder Greg Smith putting pen to paper on a two-year deal.
The South African-born player, who becomes UK qualified next year, has spent six years at Derbyshire but is viewing the switch to Essex as the opportunity to further his career development.
“I would like to thank Essex for giving me the opportunity to take my career to the next level,” said Smith. “I am looking forward to joining up with the squad and working towards successful times with my new club. I’d like to help Essex to win silverware in the future.
“There were a few clubs who had shown interest in me but the move to Essex was ideal. It’s my home now. I’m an experienced player and they’ve got some good young players coming through and it’s up to me to help them.
“I’ve had a chat with the coach Paul Grayson and he told me that in the last few games of the season they had pretty much six players under the age of 22 so it’s exciting times for the club.”
Smith, who averages 31 with the bat and has taken 146 wickets in 88 first-class matches, was named Derbyshire vice-captain in April 2010. A multi-skilled player, he is an upper order right-hand bat, bowls right-arm medium fast and can also bowl off-spin. “I like to keep myself involved in all aspects of the game,” he added.
“I would also like to thank Derbyshire for giving me the chance to move from South Africa to play in England and for the support I received from the supporters during my time there. I enjoyed my time with Derbyshire but the opportunity to come and play for Essex was too good to turn down.
“I’ll be giving it everything. I’m quite a fiery character and a winner and don’t like losing. One of the reasons that I wanted to come to Essex was because the group of players that they’ve got are all winners.
“I know a few of the guys at Essex and they all seem like a great bunch of guys so I’m really looking forward to joining up with them. Hopefully, together, we can go and win some trophies.”
Essex head coach Grayson said: “Greg is a cricketer that I admire, he’s a complete package who is a good fighter and a scrapper. We’ve identified that our fielding standards need to improve and, sometimes, we’ve been short of a good leader in the field.
“He’ll add quality to that aspect of the game, he’s a very talented all-rounder who will fit in well with the team.”