With two matches remaining in the Specsavers County Championship campaign, league leaders Essex are on the cusp of promotion and a return to play Division One cricket for the first time since 2010.
Just 6 points are needed from the remaining games and could secure their place in the top-flight for 2017 when Glamorgan visit The Essex County Ground on Monday.
Essex have named new faces, Varun Chopra and Adam Wheater in the 14-man squad for the match.
Chopra left the county after the 2009 campaign to join Warwickshire but has now has signed a three-year deal to return to Essex from next season. The Midlands county have allowed the 29 year-old batsman to join the Club early for the remainding fixtures and is set to take his place at the top of the order in place of the unavailable Alastair Cook.
Meanwhile, 26 year-old wicket-keeper batsman Wheater, who left Essex to join Hampshire in 2013, has also returned to his former county in time for the promotion run-in having completed a two-year deal until the end of the 2018 season.
He has proved a prolific performer with the bat for Hampshire this year scoring 802 Championship runs @ 47.18. Essex Head Coach, Chris Silverwood is delighted to bring both players back to the club where they spent their formative years.
“It’s great to have players of their calibre back with us. They are talented players who will boost our squad and want to help play their part in bringing Division One cricket to Essex in 2017.
“If we get 6 points from these last two games then we are guaranteed promotion but in the meantime as we always do, we are just concentrating on winning the next game and making sure our preparation is spot-on. We just need to concentrate on doing the job, getting the 6 points and then nobody can catch us, and we are home and dry.
“Because of the way we’ve played our cricket this year, we find ourselves with this excellent chance of winning the single promotion place that’s available this time around. However, until we have clinched it, we still have a job to do. Once we’ve done it, I’ll be really happy.
“Not only have we been successful this year but we’ve played some really entertaining cricket, which I’m sure our Members and supporters have thoroughly enjoyed. These are exciting times for Essex Cricket and the prospects for the future are bright and very encouraging.”
Essex squad to face Glamorgan:
Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
James Foster (7) Wicket-keeper
Aaron Beard (14)
Ravi Bopara (25)
Nick Browne (10)
Varun Chopra (6)
Dan Lawrence (28)
David Masters (9)
Graham Napier (17)
Jamie Porter (44)
Will Rhodes (-)
Paul Walter (22)
Tom Westley (21)
Adam Wheater (-)
You can watch Essex’s hunt for promotion in the final home match of the season. The action starts on Monday with tickets for each of the 4 days available to buy now online. Tickets are priced £13 Adults, £10 Young Adults and £5 Juniors, when purchased in advance. More information – here.