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Page last updated at 20:45 GMT, Friday, 2 July 2010 21:45 UK

Mark Pettini resigns as Essex captain

Mark Pettini playing against Sussex Sharks
Pettini returned to the Essex side after a five match absence

Mark Pettini has resigned as Essex captain, with James Foster taking over the role.

Pettini, 26, recently took a two-week break after a difficult start to the season and now hopes to recapture form away from the pressures of captaincy.

"The role is very stressful," Pettini told www.essexcricket.org.uk. "Now I can focus on scoring runs."

Foster, 30, had already taken over as Twenty20 captain and will now skipper the county in all formats.

"It is obviously sad news that Mark has decided to stand down as captain," said Foster.

"He took over the role from Ronnie Irani three years ago and has done an incredible job. He took the job at a young age and that is testament to both him and his character.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed the role as captain in this season's Twenty20 tournament. The focus now is continuing our form across all three competitions."

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Essex head coach Paul Grayson expressed his disappointment at Pettini relinquishing the captaincy but hopes he can now recapture his best form for the county.

"We want him to come back into the ranks and for him to be the player that he was," said Grayson.

"Anyone who was here for the game on Tuesday night would have seen he was really refreshed and focused.

"He did not appear to have any concerns and that is the way we want him to play for Essex.

"I would like to place on record my thanks to Mark for his captaincy over the past three seasons. James is obviously a well respected member of squad. He has done a great job with the Twenty20 captaincy."

Following a fortnight's rest, during which Pettini admitted he had only watched Essex games on television, he marked his return to the side for Tuesday's 17-run FP t20 defeat by Sussex with a quickfire 59.

"I felt it was time for me to step down as Essex captain," added Pettini. "We suffered a poor start to the Friends Provident t20 campaign and I wanted to be able to focus on my own game.

"I got to the point that I was exhausted and I was under pressure with my batting.

"On Tuesday I returned to the side to face Sussex in the t20. Hopefully, I showed the difference to my game without the pressures of being captain.

"It was an extremely tough decision to make. I have really enjoyed the last three years and the success we have enjoyed as a team.

"I particularly enjoyed working closely with Paul Grayson. If the circumstances are different in the future then the captaincy is certainly something that I would be honoured to take up once again."



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