Essex batsman Mark Pettini facing fitness test

BATSMAN Mark Pettini will have a late fitness test on a dislocated finger ahead of Essex’s match against Cambridge MCCU tomorrow.

Essex will select from a squad of 14 for the trip to Fenner’s which will see the county play their opening first-class match of the season.

Having already played three warm-up friendlies at Chelmsford, the three-day match will give head coach Paul Grayson a final opportunity to assess his squad ahead of the opening LV= County Championship match of the 2012 campaign, when they entertain Gloucestershire at The Ford County Ground next Thursday.

“Pre-season has gone as well as we could have hoped,” he said.

“The weather has been great, we had excellent pitches to play on and all our batsmen feel in good form after the three matches. The bowlers feel ready to go as well and so, from my point of view, I think the team is as well-prepared as it could be for this game at Fenner’s.

“It’s a good opportunity for the lads to spend more time in the middle and to make sure that we are in tip-top condition for next Thursday; that’s what pre-season is all about.

“It is the best pre-season that I’ve been involved with since I came to the club. Pre-season tours are good, yes they have a lot of positives, but the fact that the weather has been so good here has been a real bonus and things have gone really well and to plan.

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“We’ve played a couple of two-day friendlies against two Division One teams, Surrey and Worcestershire in the past few days and as a group, I thought we did really well. There were a lot of positives to take from both matches.”

Play starts at 11am on Saturday and continues on Sunday and Monday.

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