ALL-ROUNDER Simon Harmer has challenged his new Essex team-mates to aim for the County Championship Division One title this season.

Despite only winning promotion last year, the South African has lofty ambitions this season after seeing his new team-mates in action for the first time.

Off-break bowler Harmer brings Test experience to the Essex ranks, having won five caps for the Proteas in the past - having taken 290 first-class wickets at an average of 32.57.

And he said he is enjoying his early weeks in Chelmsford.

“I am settling in nicely and the weather has been kind so far although I am sure that will change,” laughed the 27-year-old, who has signed until the end of the season.

“The team seem an unbelievable bunch of guys and have made it easy for me. There are a lot of laughs and we train hard so it’s all good.

“I think in Division One you want to be testing yourself against the best. Essex want to establish themselves but from what I have seen and having guys like Cooky (Alastair Cook) around I don’t see why we cant be pushing for the top of the log come the end of the season.

“The match against Lancashire will be tough of course but every team will have their challenges but we can go toe-to-toe with the best.”

Essex have not had a full-time spinner in recent years, with Dan Lawrence and Tom Westley stepping in.

And Wagner said he was happy to pass on some tips to the burgeoning talents in the squad.

“Essex have never had an out-and-out spinner so I think there will be a lot of overs bowled,” he said. “I will look to hold up the end of the first innings and look to get some wickets when the pitch starts to dry out.

“There will be some hard work in the dirt but I am looking forward to it.”

“There are some talented guys and spinners and there is no question about their skills. It is about dealing with the pressure. But there is talent coming through that is for sure.”