Maunders secures Essex deal

Former Leicestershire opening batsman John Maunders has signed a one-year deal with Essex after a brief spell with the county at the end of the 2008 season.

Maunders averaged 43.40 in his three Championship matches and struck a century on his home debut against Warwickshire. Essex will be his third county having begun his career at Middlesex before spending five years at Grace Road from 2003 to 2007.

"John brings with him a sound, solid game. He performed well at the end of the season, when he was playing for a contract, which shows he can perform under pressure," Essex coach Paul Grayson said. "Everyone deserves another chance and we feel John is ready to grasp his after a year out of the county game. John has guaranteed me he will work hard over the winter to come back as fit as he can possibly be for next season."

Grayson added that securing Maunders was an important part of Essex's plans to strengthen their squad for next season. "I'm very comfortable with our bowling for next year - Danish Kaneria is due to come back [subject to permission from the Pakistan Cricket Board] and our back-up is strong - but we struggled for batting points last season.

"As a result we are delighted to have been able to add two good players in John Maunders and Matt Walker [from Kent] who are both ready for a fresh challenge. Their arrivals will increase the competition at the top of the order - which is what we want."