Daniel Sams has become the latest Australian international to be snapped up by an English county, with Essex hoping the in-demand allrounder could be the key to helping them win the Blast, the country's T20 crown.
The south-east county have had the 31-year-old on board for the last two seasons and he's proved such a hit at their Chelmsford base that they've re-signed him for the first set of eight matches between May and June.
He won the Blast's season-long MVP award last year, a statistical formula identifying him as the No.1 player after he scored 419 runs and took 25 wickets for Essex.
He might even have won the title for them if it hadn't been for a remarkable one-handed catch by Somerset's Tom Kohler-Cadmore in the final in Birmingham that ended his brilliant knock on 45 off just 26 balls just when it appeared he could be firing Essex to victory.
— Essex Cricket (@EssexCricket) February 5, 2024
"We're obviously delighted to have re-signed Daniel for the Blast this year," Essex's head coach, Anthony McGrath, said.
"He showed us in no uncertain terms what he's capable of last summer, and he was an instrumental part of our team, so we're looking forward to seeing him again for the first block of T20 games."
But Sams, capped 10 times in T20s by Australia although not expected to feature in the World Cup in June, has another stint with the Texas Super Kings in the US's Major League Cricket lined up for July which will rule him out of later Blast fixtures.
"I'm really excited to be heading back to Essex, especially after the year we had in 2023," Sams said.
"Chelmsford is a great ground, filled with really passionate fans, and you feel that energy from the stands when they're packed out under the floodlights.
"I loved being able to contribute to the success we had last season, and the team, in my opinion, is good enough to have a strong chance of going one better and lifting some silverware."