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Grayson: Siddle signing is signal of intent... and we may sign one more
PAUL Grayson says Essex’s capture of Aussie bowling star Peter Siddle is a signal of their intent in this season’s Twenty20.
The county’s head coach also revealed the club are considering bringing in a third new summer signing following the arrivals of Siddle and South African batsman Alviro Petersen.
Siddle, 27, ranked the fifth best Test bowler in the world, will join up with the Eagles’ squad ahead of their competition opener at Surrey Lions on June 13.
Grayson said: “It is a signal of intent about our ambitions for this competition and the season in general.
“We’ve already got Alviro Petersen for the start of the championship, and we wanted to get a bowler in for the T20 because Tim Southee’s commitments for New Zealand meant he was unavailable for us, and Chris Wright [who has joined Warwickshire] featured a lot for us and were two important players for our one-day side.
“We just felt we needed another experienced bowler to help out Graham Napier in our T20 attack, and Siddle certainly fits the bill.”
On the possibility of a new arrival, Grayson said: “We hope we might have something more in the budget to bring in another player for that competition (Twenty20) because Petersen will only be here for the Championship before he goes back.
“Siddle is here for the T20, but we are still hoping we can get another player so we can have a nice, strong side for the competition this year.
“We are speaking to players’ agents all the time and it’s just a case of spending what we’ve got wisely. We are not a rich club and we have already brought in two quality players, so it is looking good for the start of the season.”
Siddle was due to join Essex for their Championship campaign last season, but had to pull out for personal reasons.
But he said at the time he wanted to come back and play for Essex, and Grayson said there was never any danger of him going anywhere else.
He said: “We kept it very quite because he wanted to come to us. I think maybe he felt a bit of loyalty to us because he pulled out last year just before the season started, so perhaps he felt he owed us one.
“But it never came down to a case where he was having any negotiations with any other clubs. It was just a case of him wanting to come to Essex and we managed to get a good deal done which everyone is very happy with.
“Once we found out he was available were moved quickly over the past couple of weeks and did some negotiations with his agent in Australia, and he was very keen to come and play some cricket with us.
“He’s probably been in his best ever Test form over the past 12 months, and this gives him a chance to show what he can do in one-day cricket in the UK.”
* The next phase of ticket sales for Essex’s Tourist match against Australia will go on sale from 10am on Thursday, March 1. For more information visit www.essexcricket.org.uk