Bopara headlines new Essex deals
England batting all-rounder Ravi Bopara is among eight Essex players to have signed contract extensions.
Bopara, 27, who has an incremental England contract for 2012/13, has lengthened his Essex stay until September next year. Maurice Chambers has done likewise.
Aside from a run of fine England form in late June and early July, Bopara had a difficult international summer due to injury and personal problems that saw him miss the second and third Investec Tests with South Africa.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson said: "It has been a tough summer for Ravi but we want to keep him at Essex for as long as we can because of the ability he possesses. He is able to give some massive performances for Essex next season and I'm delighted he has signed a new contract."
Bopara’s fellow one-county stalwarts Graham Napier, 32, who is in a benefit year, and Mark Pettini, 28, have penned two-year extensions along with youngsters Ben Foakes, Jaik Mickleburgh, Tymal Mills and Tom Westley.
This season Essex came fifth in LV= County Championship Division Two and Clydesdale Bank 40 Group A. Having finished third in the Friends Life t20 South Group, they lost to Somerset in the quarter-finals.
Outgoing chief executive David East said: "Successful teams flow in cycles and we now have an amazing crop of talented youngsters maturing together. I believe they provide the platform for us to achieve many honours in the years to come.
“I am delighted so many have committed their futures to the club going forward, and it is a testament to the academy and development framework operating at Essex that we are continuing to produce talent of this quality."
Grayson added: "We have highly exciting young players at the club who we believe have a massive future at Essex. We want to show them commitment by giving them new contracts and hopefully they can repay us by putting in the performances next season and in the future.
"In particular, Jaik and Tom Westley formed a great opening partnership for the second half of the season and I'm hoping their form will continue into 2013."