Reshuffle at Essex July 5, 2007

Grayson to coach Essex

Cricinfo staff



Paul Grayson is Essex's new first team coach © Essex CCC

Essex have announced a mid-season reshuffle. Mark Pettini, as expected, becomes first-team captain - an enforced move following Ronnie Irani's retirement through injury. But the first team get a new coach, too, in Paul Grayson.

Grayson, a former player, shifts from the second team to the first team, while the club clarified that Graham Gooch would continue as batting coach. Essex had not had a first team coach per se for a couple of years since Gooch changed from head coach to batting coach, so this will be the first season since 2004 that they have had a main coach.

Grayson clarified: "When Ronnie Irani was in charge he didn't really need a regular coach all the time - we always shared it between myself and Graham Gooch - but now that Mark's got the job he feels that he wants someone with him all the time and I'm delighted to take that role."

John Childs will retain his role as academy director, but also replaces Grayson as second team coach.

The vice-captain vacancy will be filled by James Foster. A final decision is that Irani will continue as club captain until the end of the year, but in 2008, Pettini will also take on that mantle.

The cricket committee recommended Pettini as captain, and this was endorsed by the general committee, who made the final decision at a meeting on Wednesday.

Pettini was the stand-out candidate for the captaincy, a position he has filled since Irani limped out of cricket in June. "It's been quite nice over the last month or so to have had some time to ease my way into the job," said Pettini. "Now that it's official I have the second half of the season to really get stuck into the job and hopefully set myself up for next year.

"Captaincy is not something I've thought about much over the last few years," Pettini told the Essex CCC website. "I've just been trying to cement my place in the side - but now that chance has been given to me there are certainly some great names that I'll be following.

"I'm confident that I will be up to the task. Everyone has doubts when they start doing something new - particularly something as big as the captaincy - but we've achieved some really great results over the last few weeks. There was a period where we won five games in a row with me in charge recently so that gave me a lot of confidence in terms of thinking that I was able to do the captaincy."

David East, the club's chief executive, said: "He was certainly the choice of the senior players because he is a very popular member of the dressing room. Everyone has been very impressed in terms of the support he has given to the side when he's been available to do so."