The Australian Eagles


Since the inception of the T20 format into the domestic calendar, a handful of Australians have joined the Essex ranks to represent the county in that form of the game. With Daniel Sams becoming the latest of the men from down under to join the Club, we look back at a number of his compatriots who have worn the colours of Essex in T20 cricket.

With a reputation as one of the most potent of bowlers in T20 cricket, Shaun Tait enjoyed two seasons with Essex and underlined his rating with some lethal displays.

Born in February 1983, he first played for the Eagles in 2013 when he helped the side reach Finals Daym taking 18 wickets during the campaign at an average of 17.18 with best figures of 4/26 against Sussex at Chelmsford.

In the Quarter-Final match with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, he returned figures of 4/29 that included a spectacular hat-trick to reduce the opposition to 139-9, and one run later, Essex completed victory by 47 runs. One of his victims was the vital scalp of his fellow Aussie David Hussey, who had looked a serious threat when moving to 61 before he was caught by Ryan ten Doeschate. However, the dreams of Tait and Essex to reach their first Final were scuppered by Northamptonshire in the Semi-Final.

The Adelaide-born right-arm fast bowler returned in 2015 and made another significant contribution with 23 wickets at 19.34, assisting the County to the Quarter-Final stage when Warwickshire beat them.

His overall tally of 39 wickets for the Eagles in his 26 matches spread over two stints were achieved at an average of 18.46 and an economy rate of 7.70.

International all-rounder Andy Bichel was the next Aussie to don the Essex colours having signed a two-year contract as an Overseas player for all forms of the game. The right-arm medium-fast bowler was born in Queensland in 1970 and Bichel’s outstanding form during two spells at the Club made him a firm favourite with the Chelmsford crowd.

He made his T20 debut in 2006 and was the leading wicket-taker with 14 victims, assisting Essex to Finals Day before being eliminated in the Semi-Final by Leicestershire. He returned the following year making an overall total of 18 appearances in the competition. He claimed 22 wickets at 23.72 and an economy rate of 7.67.

Playing against Sussex at Chelmsford in 2006, the popular Australian took 4/23, his best T20 figures for the side, as the Eagles eased to an 87-run success.

Although a capable lower-order batter who scored a century for Essex in four-day cricket, his output with the bat in T20 accounted for 104 runs at 11.55.

When he left, Chief Executive David East paid this tribute, saying: “Andy has been a fantastic Overseas player for Essex, not only putting in match-winning performances on the field but also being a consummate professional off it.

“He has been a constant source of encouragement to the young players and his general influence on the whole dressing room has been fantastic.”

Scott Brant paved the way for Australian representation with the Eagles when he played in the first two years of the new competition in 2003 and 2004.

He was born in Harare, Zimbabwe but qualified to play for Australia and was only 20 years old when he linked with Essex to play as the second Overseas player available for all formats.

A left-arm seamer, he had only made his first-class debut for Queensland in 2002 and was named in Australia’s Under-19 World Cup but was subsequently denied the opportunity to represent his adopted country because he had not met the ICC residential qualifications in time.

Injury affected his initial year with the County and then when he returned for his second season, he struggled to find form. His 9 T20 matches for the Eagles over the two seasons brought him 11 wickets at 21.90 and an acceptable economy rate of 7.69.

His best return for the Eagles came in the match against Kent at Maidstone in 2004, when he recorded figures of 4/20, helping his side to an 8 wicket victory. With the bat, Brant was a tail-ender and only made three trips to the middle scoring 6 runs.

Peter Siddle made just 6 T20 appearances in an Eagles shirt during his time with the Club and those all occurred in 2018. The engaging personality only bowled 16 overs in T20 cricket for the Eagles and took just 3 wickets that proved expensive at an average cost of 50.67 and an economy rate of 9.50.

He will be fondly remembered though for his contribution that brought the County Championship title to Chelmsford in 2019.

When Siddle departed in 2021, Essex Head Coach Anthony McGrath said: “He’s a great figure in the dressing room and a leader on the field. He’s been amazing with the younger bowlers and has always offered support and advice, and when playing he’s contributed with some important wickets.

“He’s a fierce competitor and always gives it his all, but we wish him nothing but the best.”

Having started his domestic career with New South Wales and subsequently becoming a multi-format international for his country, leg-spinner Adam Zampa proved an effective and shrewd signing for the Eagles for whom he spent two seasons representing them in T20 cricket.

Born in 1992, he captured the attention during his first stint in 2018 when, in 10 matches, he claimed 12 wickets at 20.75 and an economy rate of 7.90 and was their stand-out bowler.

He achieved his best Essex figures during the season returning 3/17 vs Glamorgan at Chelmsford in 2018.

The next term, Zampa bagged another 12 wickets in a dozen matches, these victims coating 28.92 apiece whilst his economy rate was 8.07. He was part of the side that overcame Lancashire in the T20 Quarter-Final tie with Lancashire at Chester-Le-Street but then domestic commitments in Australia ruled him out of Finals Day and a part in the County’s first T20 title win.

However, his efforts for the Eagles during their historic success were acknowledged when he appeared in team photos courtesy of a cardboard cut-out!