ESSEX batsman Varun Chopra believes Anthony McGrath was “the standout candidate” to take over as head coach.

McGrath was appointed as Chris Silverwood’s replacement on Monday, following the latter’s decision to join England as fast-bowling coach.

And Chopra, who rejoined the county champions at the start of last season, is excited at Essex’s prospects.

“I hope it is a smooth transition,” said the 30-year-old. “Maggs (McGrath) and Spoons (Silverwood) are two guys that worked well together and I’m sure the way the club is run means it won’t be dissimilar this time around.

“The committee and captain and some other guys are involved in the decision-making process and Maggs was a standout candidate.

“Maggs is funny and guys that know him will enjoy his humour. He won’t overdo things and he is good at controlling the environment.

“He was in charge of batting when he was assistant coach and I am sure that will still be the case now. He has great ideas and, as a squad, we want to improve of course.

“He understands the game and his experience from being in dressing rooms only helps. He knows when to say things and what to say.”

Chopra was a key man for Essex as they made it back-to-back County Championship title wins last season.

But, while still revelling in their unbeaten campaign, Chopra is excited to see what Essex can achieve next season.

“It was a remarkable season and the manner in which we won the league is still sinking in to an extent,” he said. “But now it is about preparation for next season.

“We have continuity as players don’t want to leave here. We are playing so well and the core group is a good age and tied down to deals, so we want to build from that.”