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Mark Pettini back at the helm for Essex Eagles
MARK Pettini will be back in charge of Essex today for the Eagles’ CB40 clash with Middlesex Panthers.
Pettini captained the county between 2007 and 2010, and steps into the role because James Foster is unavailable for personal reasons.
Adam Wheater will take over as wicket-keeper in Foster’s absence, while there is no place in the squad for Harbhajan Singh.
The Indian bowler’s home debut will be delayed until tomorrow because head coach Paul Grayson felt Essex were light on the batting front, opting for James Franklin instead.
“We are missing Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara who are with England, Owais Shah is still injured and with Fozzy unavailable, we felt we were a bit short on experienced batsmen and that’s why we are playing James Franklin,” Grayson said.
“Harbhajan totally under-stands and he’ll come into the Championship side on Thursday against Hampshire. “Hopefully we can get a match in today, get some cricket under our belts and obtain a positive result.”
Essex go into the game on the back of a frustrating week at Cheltenham.
Their County Championship match against Gloucestershire abandoned before Sunday’s CB40 encounter with the Gladiators was cancelled due to rain.
Both teams picked up a point from that match and it left Essex bottom of Group A, two points adrift of Leicestershire and four behind second-placed Middlesex.
But Grayson is not writing off the Eagles’ chances of mount-ing a charge for the semi-finals.
“We’ve got six matches left and five wins could get us through,” he said.
“Our players are very determined to give it a good crack in an attempt to do that, but we go out to win every game we play anyway.”
Reece Topley and Ben Foakes are also unavailable as they have joined the England Under-19 squad preparations ahead of the ICC Under-19 World Cup that starts next month.
But Topley has been made available for the Friends Life t20 quarter-final with Somerset at Taunton next Tuesday.
Essex: Mark Pettini (captain), James Franklin, Tom Westley, Jaik Mickleburgh, Ryan ten Doeschate, Greg Smith, Adam Wheater (wicket-keeper), Graham Napier, Tim Phillips, David Masters, Tymal Mills.