Ravi Bopara has been named as Esse's vice-captain for the 2011 season as he bids to bat his way back into the England Test side.
Having already turned down an invitation to play in the Indian Premier League with the Rajasthan Royals, he has been rewarded with Essex handing him added responsibility.
Captain James Foster, who is aiming to lead the side back into Division One of the LV= County Championship at the first attempt - for which make them 10/3 to do so as Division Two champions - said:
"Firstly, this is great news for the club. Ravi has played his cricket with Essex for a long time, since a young age and now has vast experience with both England and Essex.
"Ravi will use this experience well and added with his good cricket brain I know we will work very well together both on and off the pitch."
Meanwhile, Essex have named a 12-man squad to take on Kent in their opening Championship fixture at Chelmsford, including 17-year-old fast bowler Reece Topley in the squad.
Topley made his first-class debut against Cambridge MCCU last week and head coach Paul Grayson said:
"Kent are a good side, we know plenty about each other and I fully expect them to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season when it comes to promotion.
"It’s a good start for us because we have a home fixture which we always like and everyone is fit and available for selection. We are happy with the way that the squad has been shaping-up. Pre-season has gone well and there is plenty of competition for places, that’s a nice problem for me and James Foster to have.
"I know that there will be a few players who will be disappointed not to be playing in this game and that’s what I would expect but we want competition for places and we have that at the moment."
Essex (from): Billy Godleman, Alastair Cook, Jaik Mickleburgh, Ravi Bopara, Matthew Walker, Tom Westley, James Foster (captain, wicket-keeper), Tim Phillips, David Masters, Maurice Chambers, Chris Wright, Reece Topley
© Cricket World 2011