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Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 16:01 UK

Essex skipper Mark Pettini takes break

Essex's Mark Pettini
Pettini took over as Essex captain after Ronnie Irani's retirement in 2007

Essex captain Mark Pettini is to take a short break from cricket, leaving James Foster to take over as skipper for the rest of their FP t20 campaign.

Coach Paul Grayson told BBC Essex: "It's not been an easy time for him. It's been the lack of runs that has affected him as captain.

"He feels like he wants to lead the side and by not contributing he feels like he's letting people down.

"We felt it was the best time to give him a little bit of breathing space."

He added: "He's short on runs and after Friday night's game against Glamorgan we sat down and we both agreed it would be good for him to take time away.

"He's not the first person and he won't be the last.

"Mark remains as club captain and it will continue that way."

Essex are second bottom in the South Group of the FP t20, having won just one of their first four matches.

And following their promotion to Division One of the County Championship last season, Grayson's side have won just one of their nine games this year.

In May, Essex leg-spinner Danish Kaneria and pace bowler Mervyn Westfield were arrested following an investigation into betting irregularities and Grayson says the situation has put a strain on Pettini.

"I think most people know the situation with Kaneria and Westfield. As club captain he's been involved in the investigation as have I and it's not been an easy time for him."

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