Leicestershire have signed former Essex batsman Rishi Patel on a three-year deal.

While 22-year-old Patel currently has a modest record at senior level - he averages 17.00 in first-class cricket and 21.66 in List A cricket - he has a good record in second XI cricket and is seen as an exciting prospect.

In particular, he registered five second XI centuries in the 2018 season, added three more in 2019 and was considered good enough to play four Championship matches in Essex's 2019 title-winning season.

A product of the Essex academy and Cambridge MCCU, he had a brief spell on loan at Leicestershire towards the end of the 2020 season. Clearly the club's head coach, Paul Nixon, likes what he saw.

"Rishi is an exciting batsman who we are massively looking forward to working with again," Nixon said. "He has a huge amount of talent, which we saw during the loan spell here.

"Rishi adds further competition to a young, hungry squad and we look forward to him scoring lots of runs for us. We know that Rishi will continue to grow with us as a cricketer and he's all set for a big winter to settle in ahead of the 2021 season."

Essex head coach, Anthony McGrath, also praised Patel's talent but expressed understanding about his decision to move on in pursuit of more regular first team cricket.

"It's been a pleasure working with Rishi and seeing another Academy graduate develop into the First Team squad," McGrath said. "However, we have a very talented group of players at the club and it's been difficult to guarantee a regular place in the starting XI with the success we have enjoyed in recent seasons.

"Rishi enjoyed his loan spell at Leicestershire last season and it's an opportunity for him to play more cricket regularly in the next step of his career."

Patel described the decision as "very difficult".

"I'd like to thank everyone at Essex County Cricket Club for making my dream come true and become a professional cricketer," Patel said. "The last two years have been amazing and I've learnt so much. I'd like to thank all the coaches and my teammates who made me feel so welcome from the moment I walked into the dressing room.

"It's been a difficult decision to make, to walk away from the Club I have been part of since I was 7, but I'm looking forward to the new challenges that will arise."