New Zealand all-rounder Jesse Ryder has signed for Essex until the end of the season.
The 29-year-old will join the LV= County Championship Division Two side from the start of May, to play in all formats of the game.
Essex have confirmed the move but it remains subject to visa approval, after New Zealand Cricket (NZC) signed a no-objection certificate.
"I'm thrilled to have been given the opportunity to represent Essex," said Ryder.
"This couldn't have come at a better time as I want to get as much cricket as possible over the New Zealand winter.
"It's an added bonus that there are a few guys I have played with before, the side looks very strong and they have got off to a good start for the season."
Big-hitting left-handed batsman Ryder will now be in place at Chelmsford for the start of the Twenty20 season on May 16.
Ryder's domestic contract with Otago ended this month, but he still had to provide a no-objection certificate from NZC in order to gain his visa to play in England.
Masterton-born Ryder is not under current consideration for New Zealand selection 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 refused to consider Ryder and Bracewell for the Black Caps or New Zealand A winter tour squads.
Ryder topped the run-scoring charts for Otago in domestic New Zealand competition, with 436 at an average of 73, with a strike rate of 125.
Ryder's fast-paced scoring will boost Essex across the board, but especially in what looks a strong Twenty20 line-up, the 18-Test all-rounder expected to work well alongside the likes of England batsman Ravi Bopara and 34-year-old all-rounder Graham Napier.
Ryder was put into a medically-induced coma in March 2013 after being attacked at a Christchurch bar.
He made his return to international cricket when selected for a one-day international against the West Indies in December 2013.