SOUTHEND & EMT Cricket Club have sensationally signed former England bowler Alan Mullally.

The Southend-born 44-year-old played 19 international Tests and 50 one-day internationals.

And the club’s chairman Stuart Leslie is thrilled to be welcoming Mullally to Southchurch Park.

“Alan sent us an email through our club website and to start off with we thought it was a wind-up or from someone with a similar name,” said Leslie.

“But Alan was actually born in Southend before moving to Australia and he’s moved back into the area and wanted to get involved in what we’re doing.

“He said he was impressed and aware of the work we were doing at the club and he’s also going to be helping the six youth teams we have.

“It’s fantastic to have someone like Alan coming in, I’ve been told he’s looking good in the nets and it really is a massive coup for us.”

Mullally took 58 Test wickets for England and a further 63 in one-day internationals during a five-year spell.

He also shone while playing county cricket for both Leicestershire and Hampshire before deciding to retire in 2005.

However, he has now opted to return to action and will be hoping to impress in Division One of the Shepherd Neame Essex League next season as the Seasiders bid to build on the promotion they secured last summer.

“The last time we came up into Division One we went straight back down and we don’t want that to happen again,” said Leslie.

“We have Joe Robbins as our captain, who is a great player, we have Alan coming in and one or two others who want to join us as well which is very encouraging.

“I think it shows we’re moving in the right direction and hopefully we can continue to show that on the pitch next season.”