Essex's quest for an overseas player is finally at an end, after the South Africa left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe agreed terms to join the club for the first part of the season.

Although he will not link up with the team in time for Friday's opening County Championship fixture against Kent, Tsotsobe is expected to be ready to make his debut against Middlesex next week.

Tsotsobe, 27, has been a prolific wicket-taker in the South Africa's one-day side, and reached a career-best ranking of No. 6 following the World Cup, before even though he missed out on selection in the latter stages to make way for an extra spinner on the subcontinent's turning pitches.

"I am thrilled to be joining up with Essex and hope I can make a significant contribution for the county with the ball," said Tsotsobe. "As this is my first experience of county cricket, I obviously can't wait to get started and I look forward to playing a part in regaining our Division 1 status."

Essex's head coach Paul Grayson added: "Obviously we are delighted to get him in. He has come highly recommended by people we know, as a left-armer he offers variation and we hope he will make a big impact for the start of the season."

The signing comes as a relief to Essex, who have been regularly thwarted in their attempts to find an overseas replacement for their Pakistan legspinner, Danish Kaneria. The New Zealand Tim Southee and the Afghan Hamid Hassan had both been linked to the county prior to the signing of Tsotsobe.

The New Zealand allrounder Scott Styris will take over as their overseas professional for the Friends Provident t20.