Harmer the latest in a line of South Africans at Essex


After the announcement of South African international Simon Harmer signing for Essex on a one-year contract, the club take a look back at the previous South Africans who have represented the side in past seasons, some of which have gone on to become greats of the game, including our very own captain, Ryan ten Doeschate who was born in Port Elizabeth!


Greg Smith

Johannesburg-born all-rounder, Greg Smith was the latest in a line of South Africans to have pulled on an Essex shirt. He joined the Club in 2012 from Derbyshire and was effective in all three formats, quickly becoming a versatile batsman in T20 cricket by playing throughout the order.

Smith made 36 First Class appearances for the county, scoring 1336 runs and a high score of 177 against Gloucestershire at Bristol in 2013. He had four seasons at the Club before retiring in 2016 to take up a Director role at Penzance Cricket Club.


Hashim Amla

Hashim Amla joined the club in 2009 replacing Danish Kaneria as the club’s overseas player. Amla’s spell was a brief one as he only played three games for the club but he certainly made an impact on the Essex crowd.

In his three matches Amla scored 410 runs at an average of 102.5 including a memorable 181 in his first game to help Essex salvage a draw against Glamorgan at The County Ground.

Amla went onto become an integral figure in the South Africa team in all formats and is arguably one of the best batsman in the world on his day. His stats would reflect that as he averages 51.16 in Tests, 51.33 in ODIs and 31.50 in T20Is.


Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn joined the club in 2005 appearing in seven matches between May and June. He failed to make a huge impact during his first stint County Championship cricket, taking 14 wickets at 59.85.

However there were clear signs Steyn had had the potential and components to keep developing his game and go on to be a recognised fast bowler around the world.

Steyn did not disappoint as he is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous bowlers in all competitions.

Dale Steyn signed to play for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL in 2008.  He was bought for US$325,000 and then was bought by Deccan Chargers in 2011 for $1.2 million.

The 33-year-old has also taken 416 Test wickets for South Africa and 180 and 58 in ODIs and T20 Internationals.


Alviro Petersen

Alviro Petersen joined the club in 2012 to play in both First-class and List A cricket.

Petersen didn’t have the impact he would have liked though, as in his seven first-class matches he scored 235 runs at an average of 21.36 including a top score of 145. List A cricket was a similar story unfortunately for the South African as he scored 33 runs in three matches at an average of 11.

Since then though, the 35-year-old has gone on to become one of the most consistent performers in the English game having further spells with Glamorgan and more recently Lancashire.

Ken McEwan

Ken McEwan had a career at Essex which spanned over 282 matches and is real legend of the Club’s history. He joined the Club in 1974 from Sussex and went onto score 1,000 First Class runs in his opening season. He continued to rack up runs for Essex throughout this time in the county and was even named a one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1978.

McEwan was in the squad which lifted the County Championship trophy in 1979, a season in which he was the county’s leading run scorer.

His time at Essex came to an end in 1985 and never received a Test cap for South Africa.


Charl Willoughby

At the age of 36, Charl Willoughby was brought in by Head Coach, Paul Grayson in 2011 to offer some experience to the bowling attack. Unfortuantely, Charl’s time didn’t work as planned with injury plaguing his tenure at the Club featuring for just one season of his agreed two year contract.

Taking 19 wickets in total across 8 matches, Willoughby’s best return was against Kent at Chelmsford where he took 5-70 – a game which ended in a draw.


Andre Nel

Andre Nel spent an injury interrupted three years with the club in a period which he struggled to make an impact. Nel took 24 wickets at an average of 34.16 in first-class cricket and 11 wickets at an average of 42.45 in List A cricket.

Nel was a man who often had controversy follow him but he forged a good career at the highest level of the game. He made 36 Test appearances for South Africa in a period from 2001 to 2008 and also appeared in 79 ODIs and two T20Is.


Lonwabo Tsotsobe

Lonwabo Tsotsobe signed for the club in 2011 and endured a difficult period with Essex. He took only five wickets in first class cricket and eight wickets in List A matches.

After he was dropped from the County Championship side it was agreed that Tsotsobe’s spell as overseas player would come to an end early.