Petersen signing a major boost to Essex, says Grayson

Essex head coach Paul Grayson is looking forward to working with Alviro Petersen, the South Africa Test opening batsman who has joined the county as an overseas player for the opening weeks of the 2012 season.

“We are delighted to have signed a Test batsman who has experience of playing in conditions over here having represented Glamorgan,” he said. “We have struggled a little bit at the top of the order in the past couple of years and bringing in a player of his quality is going to help us during the first few weeks of the season.”

Petersen, who captained Glamorgan last year, scoring 2,039 runs in all competitions including 133 in the County Championship match at Cardiff against Essex, confirmed his switch of counties on Twitter. “Delighted to have signed a short term contract with Essex CCC from the start of the season until mid-June 2012,” he wrote.

Grayson added: “It’s never easy getting the right-quality overseas players in but Alviro was keen to come over and play for a couple of months before South Africa’s tour here in the second half of the summer, and it’s a good opportunity for him to get some cricket under his belt.

“We saw at close hand last season when we played Glamorgan that he is a high-quality player, a good character and good leader and so I’m sure that he’ll be a good man to have around the place to pass on his experience and knowledge of the game.

“He’ll be available for our first eight Championship matches and four Clydesdale Bank 40 games up until the start of the t20. We worked hard to get him over and we are really pleased that everything has fallen into place.”

With Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara failing to win places in the Indian Premier League this year, Essex have a potent-looking batting order with which to start the campaign – as Grayson acknowledged.

“Depending on Ravi’s commitments with England, and with Shah and Petersen available, our top-order is looking good this year and there is going to be plenty of competition for places,” he said. “That’s what we want.”

The 31-year-old Petersen joins fellow Cape Province-born players Ryan ten Doeschate and ex-Somerset bowler Charl Willoughby at Chelmsford, with further South African links provided by Johannesburg-born all-rounder Greg Smith who moved to Essex from Derbyshire at the end of last season.

“The South African boys are good characters. You know what you are going to get from them, they are good performers and competitors,” Grayson added.

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