Essex news November 15, 2011

Charl Willoughby signs for Essex

ESPNcricinfo staff

Charl Willoughby, the left-arm fast bowler, has signed a two-year contract with Essex. The former South Africa seamer, who has played two Tests and three ODIs for his country, joins the county after a six-year stint with Somerset.

Willoughby, 36, played 15 matches in the 2011 season, taking 53 wickets at an average of 32.47. Commenting on his transfer, Willoughby said his aim is to help Essex gain promotion to the first Division in the County Championship.

"I obviously have a lot of experience in the game and Paul Grayson ([he Essex head coach] wants a wise old head to help David Masters with the bowling attack," Willoughby told the county's official website. "Essex have some promising youngsters coming through the ranks and I can certainly pass on some of my knowledge as a left-armer."

Grayson said Essex were fortunate to get his services considering there were other counties keen on signing him up.

"I'm delighted with the signing of Charl," Grayson said. "He is a very experienced bowler and someone we wanted to add to our ranks alongside David Masters and Graham Napier. He is a quality left-arm bowler and we see him also helping Reece Topley and Tymal Mills in their development with his experience and knowledge of the game".

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Randolph on November 15, 2011, 22:32 GMT

    Yet another South African in England. Surprise surprise.

  • Rob on November 15, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    Thought the "released by mutual agreement" was a bit dodgy when I found out we'd let him go. Darn. Just for the record I believe Charl became a British citizen (notwithstanding that we aren't a republic and therefore are all Her Majesty's subjects) so doesn't count as a Kolpak or overseas player.

  • Alan on November 15, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    Not so sure that the "Kolpaks or some such things" are as a rule so terrible for English cricket. At least in terms of test cricket one has to say that the standing of English cricket has improved from the late 1980s and 1990s when there were very restrictive rules limiting counties to one overseas player per year. People seem to assume it's bad that an overseas player should be taking the place of an English player in a county side, but surely there's an argument that such a player is equally being displaced by one or two English players in the same county side, which simply suggests they aren't good enough in the first place! I think Kolpaks and overseas players have had both positive and negative effects on English cricket, the positive including making English domestic cricket tougher and more competitive, making it less likely that young English cricketers prosper in a soft county cricket format and then get exposed the moment they play test cricket, as often used to occur!

  • Dummy4 on November 15, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    Very good signing for Essex if he's the Overseas Pro but terrible signing for English cricket if he's gone on a Kolpak or some such thing!

  • Mark on November 15, 2011, 12:12 GMT

    Great pro, I've really enjoyed having him at the county ground for the last 6 years, just as entertaining with the bat as with the ball! Hope he does well at Essex.

  • Adam on November 15, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    Essex were amoungst the favourites last year and really failed to impress. Looking through their side it did seem strange people rated them so highly. However a relatively strong finish suggests an upward turn. Yorkshire, Hampshire and Essex should be challenging.

  • Dan on November 15, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Willoughby is exactly the sort of overseas player counties should look for; not good enough for internationals, more than good enough for the Championship, and he could do a decent job for us even if he is a bit long in the tooth. That said where Essex failed time and again last year was with the bat, bolstering an attack lead by the excellent David Masters and with the likes of Topley and Craddock coming through is all well and good but if our opening batsmen next season are Westley and Godleman we will not go up.

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