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ESSEX will have to defend their Vitality Blast title without the services of leg-spinner Adam Zampa and all-rounder Moises Henriques after their contracts for this season were terminated by mutual consent.
Crowd favourite Zampa was expected back at the County Ground for a third stint, while Henriques was due to feature for the first time with the Eagles.
Speaking to www.essexcricket.org.uk, Chief Executive, Derek Bowden, explained: “The last few months have been extremely difficult and whilst we prepare for a shortened domestic season, there are still uncertainties and restrictions which means this is the most sensible decision going forward.
“It’s a shame as Adam is a fan favourite at Chelmsford and a popular member of the dressing room, whilst we also feel that we had recruited well by bringing in Moises. However, but we still believe we have a squad that is more than capable of defending the title.
“I would like to thank Adam, Moises and their representative teams for their understanding of the current situation and the impact it’s having on the game.”
Meanwhile, Essex has confirmed that they will face Kent in a two-day warm-up match, which will be staged behind closed doors at Canterbury.
Essex will cross the river on July 27/28. Head Coach, Anthony McGrath, said: “All the lads are looking forward the season starting and getting back out on the field again.
“We’ve been training for a few weeks now and the players are looking good, and this friendly against Kent will give the guys a chance to play in matchday scenarios against a tough opposition.
“It will be strange playing with no fans, especially as we’re lucky at Essex to have some of the best and most dedicated supporters in the country.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re playing at Chelmsford, up at Headingley or down at Taunton, you know the Essex fans will travel in big numbers to back the team. That support helped us get over the line on plenty of occasions last season, so we’re certainly going to miss them.”