Somerset hopeful of signing Murali Vijay for remaining season
Murali Vijay last played for India in Perth in December 2018. (AFP Image)

Somerset are reportedly closing in on the signing of India batsman Murali Vijay for the remainder of the county season. With eight wins in 11 games, Somerset are second on the points table of County Championship Division One and are chasing their first championship title.

Somerset are second to leaders Essex and the two teams are gearing up to face each other in the final game. Vijay, in fact, had a fruitful season with Essex last year. After a forgettable tour of England, where he was dropped after the second Test, Vijay went to Essex, where he played three matches and scored 56, 100, 85, 80 and 2, and averaged a healthy 64.59.

Vijay’s fine form with Essex earned him a berth for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but after scoring just 49 runs in four innings, he was dropped again for the final two Tests and subsequently fallen out of contention.

The inclusion of Vijay promises to bolster Somerset who have lost the services of sub-continent batsmen Azhar Ali and Babar Azam after Pakistan recalled them. The opener is coming off some good scores in the recently-concluded Tamil Nadu Premier League. Playing for the Ruby Trichy Warriors, Vijay racked up three half-centuries in a row and a 57-ball hundred against the TUTI Patriots. Earlier this year, Vijay also smashed 67-ball 107 against Meghalaya in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

In Division 2, Northamptonshire are also closing in on their signing of West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach for the final in a bid to earn promotion to top tier. Northamptonshire are currently third behind leaders Lancashire and Gloucestershire with three wins from 11 games.

Somerset play Gloucestershire in one of their remaining games, which might lead to a showdown between Roach and fellow West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.