In a bid to resurrect his flailing career, out-of-favour India opener Murali Vijay has joined English County Championship outfit Essex for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
Vijay, 34, was dropped for the last two Test matches against hosts England after a series of poor showings in overseas outings.
He scored 20, 0, 0 and 0 in the first two Test matches at Birmingham and Lord's. India lost both the matches. He missed the third Test at Nottingham, which India won.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in a release, "Opening batsman Murali Vijay has signed up with Essex County Cricket Club and will represent them in the remainder of the 2018 County Championship campaign."
"Vijay, who featured in the first two Tests of the ongoing Test series against England, is keen to return to the County Ground where he scored 53 in the first innings of India’s practice game."
The county side also confirmed the new development.
“We’re delighted that Murali 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," Essex head Coach Anthony McGrath said.
He replaces Aussie pacer Peter Siddle.
The right-handed batsman played against Essex in India's 4-Day practice match. He scored a half-century in the first innings of the game.
He is likely to play three 4-Day matches, starting against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on September 10.
Vijay has played 57 Tests, scoring 3933 runs at an average of 39.33, with the help of 12 hundreds and 15 half-centuries.
But his recent away form has become an area of concern for the team, especially with India still looking for a settled opening pair. It's worth noting that his opening partners in Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul have also failed in the series.
They have performed in the three-match Test Series in South, which India lost 1-3.
Meanwhile, India once again failed to clean up the English tail as the hosts posted 332 runs in their first innings of the fifth and final Test at The Oval on Saturday.
Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad posted 98 runs for the ninth-wicket stand to defy an otherwise disciplined Indian attack. They were 181/7 at one time.
England have already taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series. But Joe Root & Co. will not settle for anything less than a win in Alastair Cook's farewell match. Cook is England's all-time leading Test scorer.