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Pettini welcomes changes

Essex skipper confident of Division One survival

Pettini: Happy with rule changes

Pettini: Happy with rule changes

Essex captain Mark Pettini believes the rule changes imposed ahead of this season's County Championship can only enhance the excitement of domestic cricket.

"I do envy the Australians when I go over there and play in the winter with the amount of time they get between matches to prepare."

Mark Pettini

Quotes of the week

The England and Wales Cricket Board have attempted to reduce the number of drawn matches in four-day cricket by increasing the number of points awarded for a win, as well as banning the use of a heavy roller during a match.

Teams will now receive 16 points for a win instead of 14, while a draw will yield just three points instead of the previous four.

And Essex skipper Pettini, who guided his side back to Division One for the first time since 2003 last season, believes the changes can only increase excitement levels this summer.

Confident

Her told Sky Sports News: "With regards to the heavy roller that is only a good thing, it can really dent the wicket and flatten it out too much. We don't really use it so it will be only good for the game.

"With regards to the points changing, hopefully it will produce more results because at the end of the day you play cricket to win matches so hopefully that will lead to less draws."

Essex kick off their Division One campaign on Friday morning with a home fixture against Hampshire at Chelmsford.

Pettini and his players made the most of their winter break with a pre-season tour of Barbados, and the 26-year-old batsman is confident the Eagles will hit the ground running when play gets underway.

"We were very lucky in that we were able to go away to Barbados for a pre-season tour with other counties Lancashire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire so the standard of cricket was very good and the facilities were excellent as well," he said.

"We are lucky at Chelmsford because we don't get a lot of the rain and bad weather so we have managed to get some practice matches in and outdoor nets all set for tomorrow.

"It (the pitch) never does a lot here at Chelmsford. We have tried a lot of things over the years and I think the grass we have left on it will ensure good carry and an exciting cricket game."

A dramatic final day victory over Derbyshire saw Essex clinch promotion at the expense of third-placed Northamptonshire last term.

And Pettini hopes his players can pick up where they left off last season when play commences against one of the Division One title favourites, Hampshire.

Concerns

"We had a strong end to the season last year so we have tried to reinforce what we did well then to get us promoted into our pre-season and take our skill levels up a notch as well," he said.

"I have real confidence in the guys, we have had a great pre-season and they are all really looking forward to tomorrow's game."

England captain Andrew Strauss recently voiced his concerns over the vast amount of cricket played over the course of the domestic summer.

And Pettini admits he is envious of the amount of time off first-class players in other countries receive between matches.

"We do play a lot of cricket, but it's always a lot of cricket. The guys are used to it, they get paid to play cricket," he said.

"I think it would improve the quality slightly if we had more preparation time, I do envy the Australians when I go over there and play in the winter with the amount of time they get between matches to prepare.

"I do prefer the structure this year with the way they have blocked off the Twenty20 into more of a specific period in the middle of the summer which I think is beneficial."