JIMMY Neesham is eagerly looking forward to his time with Essex as the Eagles commence their Vitality Blast campaign tonight.

The New Zealand all-rounder is the one new face in the Eagles line-up as the squad look to repeat their success in 2019 when they lifted the trophy for the first time in their history.

Neesham said: “We’ve got a great chance to get some momentum going in the early stages of the tournament because we have to play four games in seven days, so it’s a pretty hectic start.

“But it does give us the chance to put four day cricket on the back-burner and really focus on the start of a demanding T20 campaign.

“Towards the back-end of the schedule we get a bit longer between matches and we can potentially reassess the tactical side of our game.

“But T20 is a massive momentum game and that’s why it’s so important to hit the ground running this week.”

And Essex head coach Anthony McGrath has high hopes for Neesham.

“When we looked at our performance in the competition at the end of last season, we felt we needed to add another all-rounder to the T20 squad,” said McGrath.

“With all of his talent and experience, Jimmy fits the bill perfectly.

“He’s excelled with both the bat and the ball on the biggest of stages for his country, as well as in the global franchise competitions and it’s a great match for both the player and the Club.”

The Eagles meet Somerset at Taunton tonight before hosting Hampshire at the County Ground on Friday.

Essex then hit the road to Cardiff to engage Glamorgan on Sunday before entertaining Sussex at Chelmsford next Tuesday during a hectic start to the competition.