Essex have signed experienced T20 batsman Cameron Delport for the Vitality Blast. The South African, who has previously played for Leicestershire using a UK passport, has agreed a two-year deal.
Delport's powerful hitting helped Leicestershire to a Blast quarter-final in 2017 - their first in six years - and overall he amassed 694 T20 runs at a strike rate of 135.54 for the club. He also featured in the Royal London Cup, scoring a century and three fifties while averaging 34.85, but was last month released from his contract at Grace Road.
He went unsold in the IPL auction on Tuesday but was in good form in the recent Mzansi Super League. Delport has travelled the T20 circuit to good effect over the last few years, playing in the Big Bash, Pakistan Super League, Caribbean Premier League, Bangladesh Premier League and Afghanistan Premier League.
"We identified early on that we needed to add another batsman to the squad for the Vitality Blast and with all of his experience, Cameron fits the bill perfectly," head coach, Anthony McGrath, said.
"He's excelled in the global competitions and it's a good match for both the club and the player. We're excited about the firepower he can add to the side and I'm sure he will excite the Chelmsford crowd."
Essex endured one of their worst T20 seasons in recent memory last year, winning just two games and finishing third from bottom in the South Group. They have yet to claim a T20 title, despite often being strong challengers, with a Finals Days appearance in 2013 equalling their best finish in the competition.
"I'm so happy to be joining Essex," Delport said. "The club has such an amazing history and tradition so I'm proud to be given the opportunity to get involved. There is a strong squad at Chelmsford and I hope to play my part in getting the Eagles to Finals Day come September. I can't wait to get started."