Murali Vijay to play for Essex

The India opener will ply his trade for the side for the remainder of the County Championship season.

M. Vijay has had poor returns with the bat in the Tests.   -  AFP

India opener M. Vijay will play for English county Essex for the remainder of the County Championship in England, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced via a communique on Saturday.

Vijay has had a torrid Test tour of England with the bat; his poor returns in the first two Tests — a total of 26 runs scored in four innings — propelled the team management to sideline him for the matches. Vijay, however, had a good outing with the bat in one of the practice matches at Chelmsford, Essex’s ground, in July, and he states he saw “first-hand just how good the crowd is.”

“I was here with the India side about a month ago and saw first-hand just how good the crowd is. I can’t wait to play for Essex and hopefully win some matches,” Vijay was quoted as saying in the communique.

‘Delighted’

Anthony McGrath, Essex’s coach, said, “We’re delighted that Vijay has chosen to come here. He’s a great batsman who can score runs at the top of the order. Vijay’s run-scoring ability means he can be the difference-maker in a game, and that skill is something we were looking to bring in towards the end of the season and something that we’re excited about.”

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He added, “The campaign is coming to an end and we have some really big games over the next month, so getting someone in with the experience and international quality that Vijay possesses could make all the difference for us.”

Essex lies fourth in the Division One points table of the County Championship. The team’s next assignment is an away game against Nottinghamshire from September 10. The club ends the season at The Oval, playing Surrey from September 24.

The team, captained by Ryan ten Doeschate, possesses Australia international Peter Siddle, England’s Ravi Bopara and South Africa’s Simon Harmer, among others.