Essex have made a headline-grabbing overseas signing for this season in New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder.
The 29-year-old, who is currently not being considered for international selection due to disciplinary issues, has penned a deal that is subject to visa approval.
Ryder is set to join up with Essex from the start of May and will be eligible in all formats for the rest of the campaign.
The big-hitting left-hander, who has made 88 international appearances, said: “I'm thrilled to have been given the opportunity to represent Essex.
“This couldn't have come at a better time as I want to get as much cricket as possible over the New Zealand winter.”
Ryder is not under consideration by New Zealand Cricket after he was disciplined for being caught in an Auckland bar on the eve of Test action against India in February, along with team-mate Doug Bracewell.
New Zealand bosses have refused to consider Ryder and Bracewell for the Black Caps or New Zealand A winter tour squads.
Ryder topped the run-charts for Otago in New Zealand’s 50-over domestic competition this English winter, with 436 at an average of 73 and a strike-rate of 125.
In March last year Ryder was in the headlines when was put into a medically-induced coma after being attacked at a Christchurch bar.
He made his return to international cricket when selected for a one-day international against West Indies in December.