Essex sign Smith and keep Masters
Essex have completed the signing of Derbyshire all-rounder Greg Smith and agreed a new contract with strike bowler David Masters.
Smith, who was born in South Africa but qualifies as a Kolpak player, turned down the offer of a new deal last winter that would have made him Derbyshire captain this season.
The offer was subsequently withdrawn, and Smith’s long expected exit was today confirmed by Essex, one of several counties believed to have been chasing his signature.
“I would like to thank Essex, (chief executive) David East and (head coach) Paul Grayson for giving me the opportunity to take my career to the next level,” said Smith, 28, whose final championship game for Derbyshire came against his new employers last month.
“I am looking forward to joining up with the squad and working towards successful times with my new club and help to win silverware.
“I would also like to thank Derbyshire for giving me the chance to move from South Africa to play in England and for the support I received form the supporters during my eight years with the club.
“I enjoyed my time with Derbyshire but the opportunity to come and play for Essex was too good to turn down.”
Smith, who has signed a two-year deal at Essex, averages 30.92 with the bat and 35.81 with the ball in a first-class career dating back to 2003/04.
Grayson added: “Greg is a cricketer that I admire. He is a very talented all-rounder and has a great character for the dressing room, which I feel will benefit us.
“He is a very good cricketer who will fit in well with the team and I look forward to working with him at Essex.”
Masters, meanwhile, has put pen to paper on a new three-year deal keeping him at Chelmsford until the end of the 2014 season, by which time he will be 36.
“I am very happy to have signed a new contract with Essex,” said Masters, the country’s leading wicket-taker this season with 93 at 18.13 apiece in LV= County Championship Division Two.
“I have had a good year and the new deal takes it up to the later stages of my career, which is ideal as I would like to finish my career at Essex.
“There are a crop of good, young cricketers coming through the club and I am looking to be part of this in the coming years where I believe we can win silverware.
"I am very happy to be part of this and to have extended my contract.”
Masters, who is one of four players shortlisted for the Professional Cricketers' Association Player of the Year award, began his career at Kent before joining Leicestershire in 2003 and moving to Essex in 2008. He has taken 469 wickets at 26.82 in 148 first-class games.