Mark Lewis Pettini
August 07, 1983, Brighton, Sussex
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Hills Road Sixth Form College. Cardiff University
Mark Pettini's career has not been short of talented, sometimes audacious, strokeplay, but when he left Essex at the age of 32, as part of a raft of signings intended to rescue Leicestershire from three successive seasons at the foot of Division Two, the feeling persisted that he had not quite met expectations. His explosive batting in one-day and T20 cricket had long been an important component of the Essex set-up but trophies had proved elusive, and after being made captain at the age of 23, Pettini struggled to attain the level of scoring in four-day cricket that made him one of the county's most promising young batsmen.
The former England Under-19 player graduated to become an integral performer for Essex in the summer of 2006 - he scored three centuries, including a double against Derbyshire, on his way to 1,218 first-class runs, suggesting himself a lot more than a one-day specialist. Later the same month, against Leicestershire in the last match of the 2006 County Championship, he hit 114 not out from 29 balls, but this innings was made against "declaration" bowling and so was not eligible for the Walter Lawrence Trophy for the fastest hundred of the season and did not qualify as the fastest first-class hundred (27 balls).
He developed into a major force in the top order and, when Ronnie Irani stood down midway through the 2007 season, Pettini was handed the captaincy. In the same month he was nominated in England's provisional World Twenty20 squad. It was Irani's return as cricket chairman eight years later that coincided with his departure.
That season, and leading Essex to the 2008 Friends Provident Trophy, were the high points for Pettini, however, as his form suffered to the extent that he gave up the captaincy in 2010 to save his batting. The following season saw him in and out of the four-day side and despite signs of a renaissance in 2012, with some gritty innings in difficult conditions, his long-form cricket gradually lost its way. He also had had successful spells wintering with Mountaineers in Zimbabwe as an overseas player, as well as playing in the Dhaka Premier League.
Petti was one of several seasoned players with leadership experience who was persuaded to join Leicestershire, who had been perennial second division strugglers, in 2016. Pettini, Paul Horton and Neil Dexter had all struck a Championship century by early May, Pettini's coinciding with celebrations of Leicester City's Premier League title, proof that just about anything was possible. Sadly for Leicestershire, the cricket was rather more prosaic, although Pettini sparked again in the Roayl London Cup in 2017 as his career-best 159 against Warwickshire at Grace Road helped the county to 363 for 7, their highest score in limited-overs cricket.
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