TOM Westley has been named the new Essex captain.

The 30-year-old is an Essex Academy graduate and will captain the side across the County Championship and Royal London Cup, with Simon Harmer continuing to skipper the Essex Eagles in the Vitality Blast.

And Westley cannot wait to take charge.

“It’s a real honour for me to be named club captain and it’s a challenge that I’m really looking forward to,” said Westley.

“I’ve been with the club since I was 13 and I can’t really put into words how much this means to me.

“I’ve spent my whole career with Essex so it’s a really proud moment for me and my family.”

Westley will take over from Ryan ten Doeschate who has opted to step down after four successful years as captain.

And Westley is keen to continue his good work.

“Ryan has done an outstanding job and deserves every bit of praise he gets,” said Westley.

“He’s been a fantastic captain, a close friend and an excellent leader who I’ve learnt a lot from.

“We’ve been so successful as a club under his guidance, and my main goal as captain is to continue the great work he’s done, carry on winning games of cricket and ultimately bring more trophies to this great club.”

Westley has made 152 first-class, 80 List A and 74 T20 appearances for the Essex since making his debut in 2006 and follows in the footsteps of the likes of Keith Fletcher, Graham Gooch and Nasser Hussain in becoming a homegrown Essex Club Captain.

And Essex’s head coach Anthony McGrath is confident Westley will shine as skipper.

As well as being an excellent cricketer, Tom is also a natural leader both in the dressing room and out on the field,” said McGrath.

“He’s been vice-captain for a number of years and when he’s been asked to step up in Ryan’s absence, he’s always demonstrated his strong leadership qualities and has shown how important he is to this side.

“He’s come through the Essex Academy and has all the attributes to be a successful captain.

“Going forward, he’ll have the likes of Ryan [ten Doeschate], Alastair [Cook] and Simon [Harmer] to lean on if needed and we’re all looking forward to seeing how things progress under his captaincy.”