Essex’s busy off-season has continued with England Lions all-rounder Tom Westley named as the club’s vice-captain and awarded a two-year contract extension.
Westley will remain at Essex until 2018 under his new deal while coach Chris Silverwood said handing him greater leadership responsibility was “the logical next step in his progression”.
Westley has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent seasons, winning the Essex’s player-of-the-season award in 2014 before being selected on this winter’s England Lions tour of United Arab Emirates.
His appointment as vice-captain comes a fortnight after new head coach Chris Silverwood named Ryan ten Doeschate as club captain and Ravi Bopara as limited-overs skipper.
“I feel honoured. It’s a big day,” he said. “There’s been a lot of positive changes being made around the club over the last three or four months.
“Working with Ryan & Ravi, I’ve got a good relationship with both of them, and have played with them both for a number of years now.
“If they need help or support, or some suggestions, then I think that is my role. Also, I think I can be a bit of a go-between for the captains and the rest of the players.”
Essex have undergone significant changes since Paul Grayson stepped down as coach at the back end of last season.
Silverwood was confirmed as his replacement in December after a successful interim spell in charge aand has sought to shake-up his leadership group.
“Since October last year, there’s been lots of thing going on at the club, it’s been nice from a players’ perspective to see some of those changes take place,” said Westley, who has played 99 first-class games for the club since his debut in 2007.
“For me to commit to an extra two years’ was a bit of a no-brainer in the end as I can see the club moving in the right direction.”
Westley’s best moments have come in the limited-overs formats although his ability in the longer format was underlined with a century against Australia last summer.
“Tom has been exceptional for us over the past few seasons, and it seems the logical next step in his progression to take on the role of vice-captain,” Silverwood said.
“We are delighted he has signed his new contract. He has an excellent cricket brain, and I believe he will enjoy the added responsibility of working with Ryan and Ravi in order to move our cricket forward.
“Tom Westley will be an important part of the future of Essex CCC.”