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Cricket: Essex include Vijay for trip to Nottinghamshire

PUBLISHED: 19:51 09 September 2018 | UPDATED: 19:51 09 September 2018

India's Murali Vijay bats during day two of the Specsavers First Test match at Edgbaston (pic Nick Potts/PA)

India's Murali Vijay bats during day two of the Specsavers First Test match at Edgbaston (pic Nick Potts/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Essex will welcome a new face into the ranks for this week’s trip to Trent Bridge to face Nottinghamshire in the Specsavers County Championship clash.

Murali Vijay has joined the county for the last three matches of the season as the overseas replacement for Peter Siddle, who has returned to Australia ahead of the commencement of their domestic season and the Big Bash League.

Indian Test opener Vijay, now 34, has played 59 Test matches for his country, the latest at Lord’s against England last month. The right-hander is no stranger to Chelmsford having scored 53 when the tourists met Essex at the back-end of July in the three-day warm-up match.

He made his debut for India in 2008 and has since scored nearly 4,000 Test runs at an average of 39.33, including 12 centuries. His first-class record includes 8,637 runs, with 24 centuries in 124 matches.

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath is thrilled to add Vijay to the side and 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.

“His 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.

“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 all-rounder Ravi Bopara is also delighted to have Vijay in the side as they seek to secure Division One status for another season during the closing weeks of the campaign.

“He is a class performer and I expect him to bring stability to our batting,” said Bopara.

“We’ve got three games to go and we’ve got to make an impression in those matches. It’s an important game for us against Nottinghamshire. Let’s hope it’s a good deck for our batters, but on the other side, if it seams around, then hopefully there will be something in it for our bowlers.”

Reflecting on the comprehensive defeat by Surrey, he added: “We were outplayed from day one by a very, very good Surrey team. They were in the same mindset as we were last year when we just knew we were going to win when we turned up. We knew we were going to bowl sides out and score loads of runs.

“Obviously that hasn’t happened for us this year but we are still doing alright. But there is no complacency in our dressing room, we know we’ve got to keep working hard and everyone will continue to do that.

“We can still finish third and overall, that would be a decent return for the season.”

A 13-man squad has been named for the match against Nottinghamshire, who themselves currently sit in fourth place and seven points behind Essex, although the home side have played one more match.

Essex: Ryan ten Doeschate, Ravi Bopara, Nick Browne, Matt Coles, Sam Cook, Simon Harmer, Dan Lawrence, Michael Pepper, Jamie Porter, Matt Quinn, Murali Vijay, Tom Westley, Adam Wheater.

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