Mark Pettini will leave Essex County Cricket Club to join Leicestershire ahead of the 2016 season. Despite an offer to stay with the County, Pettini has decided to move to Leicestershire.
Pettini has been a loyal servant for the County since he made his debut in 2001. Featuring predominantly in Limited Overs cricket in recent years, Pettini made a strong return to the LV= County Championship side at Castle Park in August, making 134 against Surrey. He averaged 100.50 from 5 matches, including a further century against Derbyshire.
In Limited Overs cricket, Pettini has been a stalwart for the County for a number of years. His explosive style at the top of the order often has got Essex off to a blistering start. He has 2,926 Twenty20 runs at a strike-rate of 128.89.
It was under his captaincy that Essex enjoyed a prolonged period of success. This included a Friends Provident Trophy win at Lord s in 2008, and a promotion to Division I in the Championship in 2009. That promotion, secured with a final day win away at Derbyshire, meant the County returned to the top division for the first time in 7 years. Pettini resigned the captaincy the following season, in a bid to rediscover his own batting form.
Pettini confirmed it was difficult to leave Essex after so many years with the Club. It was an incredibly hard decision to leave Essex, the place I have played my cricket since the age of 16.
“I have nothing but happy memories of my time at the Club. I would like to thank everyone, including the Members, supporters, players, coaches and staff, for the support they have given me over the years. In particular, I would like to thank Graham Gooch, Ronnie Irani and Paul Grayson.
“At this stage in my career the offer from Leicestershire of a 3 year contract and particularly the chance to play regularly across all three formats was something I couldn’t turn down as playing red ball cricket is something I still have a very strong desire to do.
“I ve been deliberating over this decision for a number of weeks, and only informed the Club on Friday of the move. It was very emotional, particularly when I told the players who I’ve shared the dressing room with over the years. Leading the side out on Friday morning was a special moment.
“My proudest moment was the win at Lord s in 2008, and it is something I will never forget.”
Ronnie Irani, Chairman of Cricket, was effusive in his praise of Pettini. “Everyone at the Club would like to thank Mark for the service he has given over the years. He has been an excellent player for the Club, with a fabulous attitude and was a successful captain when taking over from myself in 2007.
“We wish him all the best.”