Petersen interests Essex as overseas player option

Confirmation that Alviro Petersen will not be returning to Glamorgan, having been released from his status as a Kolpak player, could see Essex enter the market for his services.

They are seeking to draft in a leading overseas batsman to bolster their squad for the first two months of the season to fill a void left by Owais Shah and Ryan ten Doeschate – plus, possibly, Ravi Bopara – who are all destined for a stint in the IPL.

That leaves the county short of an experienced performer in their top order batting and South Africa Test player Petersen would fit the bill ideally.

Another name being linked with Essex for a short stint to cover the opening weeks of the campaign is Petersen’s fellow South African Jacques Rudolph, although head coach Paul Grayson is keeping tight-lipped about his target list.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to announce the new signing shortly but I’m not prepared to reveal his identity until the deal is completed,” Grayson said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to make an announcement sometime in the next week or so.

“Obviously a lot of would-be targets are in the IPL, which reduces the options somewhat, and there is also the problem of countries not being willing to release players because of various fixture schedules.”

Meanwhile, Essex will not be following the pattern of the last two years for their pre-season preparations when they visited the Caribbean. This year, instead, they will be braving the English elements although they are hoping that the weather will remain suitably clement to allow them to enjoy three practice matches at the Ford County Ground.

Two-day games against Worcestershire and Surrey have been pencilled in together with a one-day match with Middlesex.

“That gives us five match days plus the three-day friendly at Fenners against Cambridge UCCE so I’m hoping we will be well adjusted to conditions and up to speed by the time we play our first County Championship match on April 5,”  Grayson added.

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