Michael Pepper extends Essex deal


Michael Pepper has put pen to paper on a contract extension that will keep him at The Cloud County Ground until the end of the 2025 season.

The 24-year-old batter came to the fore during last season’s Vitality Blast campaign. He finished as Essex’s leading run-scorer with his 439 runs coming at a strike rate of 163.19, of those to face more than 10 balls only Daniel Sams scored at a faster rate.

After being promoted to the number three spot for Essex’s final game of the 2021 campaign, Pepper quickly settled into his new role. He struck 117 from just 41 balls in a Second XI fixture against Hampshire on the eve of the 2022 competition before going on to record two 50s in Essex’s first five games.

His trademark scoops and sweeps became a familiar sight for Essex fans as his performances at Chelmsford caught the eye. He recorded a T20 career best of 86* from just 49 balls against Somerset at his home ground in June.

Pepper’s form in the 20-over competition earned him a contract with Northern Superchargers in The Hundred and most recently with Chennai Braves in the Abu Dhabi T10 league.

Pepper said: “Last season couldn’t have gone much better for me in short-format cricket.

“It’s quite a new role for me in the T20 side but it’s one I really enjoy, it suits my style of play and I was happy to contribute to some great team performances.

“We made giant strides as a unit last year and the next step for us is to push for that second T20 trophy. We certainly believe that we have the players and plans in place to do so.”

Head Coach, Anthony McGrath said: “Michael really flourished in the T20 tournament last season. We asked him to perform a more aggressive role and pushed him up the order and he delivered just as we knew he could.

“It’s always exciting to watch a batter with such a vast array of shots, but importantly it makes him incredibly difficult to set a field to as he can access any part of the ground.

“He’s had a taste of franchise cricket as well now and he’s still a young man so I’ll be keen to see how his game develops over the next few seasons.”