Essex have signed Australia batsman Rob Quiney for the early part of the 2013 domestic season.
The 30-year-old left-hander, who is also a useful seamer, earned his Test debut against South Africa in November after a string of impressive performances for Victoria.
He has also represented his country in the Twenty20 format, and he was named Domestic Player of the Year for the 2010/11 season Down Under.
"I am delighted to have signed a contract to play for Essex this summer," he said. "The 2012/13 season has been an amazing one for me fulfilling my ambition of playing international cricket and I am now able to achieve one of my other major cricketing ambitions by playing county cricket.
"Having spoken to Paul Grayson, I am very excited about the plans for Essex this season and I look forward to helping our drive to securing silverware in 2013."
Head coach Grayson was delighted with the signing, although he admitted Quiney could force his way into Australia's Ashes line-up during the summer.
Grayson said: "It's an exciting signing for the club. Initially, he is coming over for the start of our season and will probably be with us until the end of the Friends Life t20 competition.
"We'll revisit the situation then because obviously Australia are touring over here and he wants to try and make a big impression with them.
"I've met Rob and spoken to him a few times, he's a quality player and a very good man who comes highly recommended from some good people that we know.
"He's desperate to play county cricket which is great for us and he comes across as an extremely good team player. I'm sure he will have a positive impact on the team.""