Essex have signed 31-year-old former Gloucestershire all-rounder Mark Hardinges in time to play a role in the ECB Twenty20 Cup later this year.
Hardinges was released by Gloucestershire at the end of last season, and has been playing minor counties cricket but with Essex expected to be without four key players during the ICC World Twenty20, they moved quickly to secure his services.
“The main reason we have brought Mark into the team is that we may not have four of our main players for the entirety of the Twenty20 Cup owing to ICC World Twenty20 call ups (Ravi Bopara, James Foster, Ryan ten Doeschate and Graham Napier)," Head Coach Paul Grayson explained.
"We are serious about winning the Twenty20 Cup this season and we want to be sure we have the best team available. We could have been left with a light squad and Mark brings experience as a consistent one-day performer. His name became available and this was an opportunity we could not miss. He will make a good addition to the squad for the Twenty20 Cup.”
Hardinges, who spent nine years at Gloucestershire, added: “I am really excited and pleased to get the call from Essex. If I can help in any way in what is already a good side I will be really happy.
"The set-up here at Essex is really good with a good mixture of youth and experience. In addition, there is a good coaching set-up and the guys are very passionate. In the past I have been on tour with James Foster with the British Universities and I have, of course, played against a number of the squad through the years.
"I have made two previous finals day’s of the Twenty20 Cup so I am keen to win it with Essex and this bunch of lads, as a squad we are more than capable of going that step further. My aims for my time at Essex are to enjoy myself and to contribute to a really successful unit. I am available to play for Essex from now until the end of July.”
Essex's home Twenty20 Cup campaign begins on 29th May when they host the Surrey Brown Caps.
© Cricket World 2009