New Delhi: Indian opener Murali Vijay has signed for English county side Essex for the last three games of the County Championship season 2018. The stylish opener has been suffering from a poor run of form and desperately wants to work on his overseas batting technique. “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.”ALSO READ: Asia Cup 2018: Indian cricket team’s home base shifted; venue changedThe 34-year-old was dropped from the Indian playing XI following a dismal show in the first two Tests against England. Pundits and fans were calling to bench him after the first Test but his fate was sealed after he registered a pair in the Lord’s Test. Vijay joins Essex as a replacement for Australian seamer Peter Siddle.ALSO READ: Eng vs Ind 5th Test, Day 2: Check full scorecard as hosts dominate“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,” Essex’s head coach Anthony McGrath said.“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,” he added.Vijay has represented India in 59 Tests, scoring 3933 runs with an average of 39.33. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
Toby Radford, West Indies’ batting coach, believes the regionally side have the quality to win today’s decisive game in the three-match One Day International (ODI) series against Pakistan at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.With the series locked at 1-1, Radford is of the opinion that the West Indies must fire from ball one, afterburners maximum, if they are to progress to be the series champions.Pakistan ended a run of four consecutive ODI defeats with a thumping win in the second ODI. In doing so, they ensured that whatever the outcome of the deciding contest, they will remain in the eighth and final automatic qualification place for the 2019 World Cup at the end of the series.Toby RadfordOn the other hand, the West Indies, the 1975 and 1979 world champions, are presently sitting in ninth position on 84 points, five points behind eighth-ranked 1992 winners Pakistan. Bangladesh, who recently drew their three-match series with Sri Lanka, are seventh on 92 points.A series win for the hosts will further boost their chances for an automatic qualification at the September 30 cutoff date.England and the seven other top teams will qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with the remaining four teams getting a second chance through a 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifying tournament in 2018.“We have to come back very strong on Tuesday (today). It’s a huge game for us. We want to win the series against them – we believe we can do it. We have the quality here to do it but we have to really dig deep and come back firing on all cylinders,” Radford said after the defeat on Sunday.Friday’s convincing victory in the first ODI proved only a false dawn as West Indies quickly returned to their unpleasant old habits; losing the second game on Sunday by 74 runs.MOMENTUM SHIFTEDMeanwhile, Radford admitted that a momentum shift in the last 10 overs of Pakistan’s innings left his side with “50 runs” more than what they had aimed to chase.Azam’s brilliance saw Pakistan post a par total. It was the 99-run stand between him and Imad Wasim that gave Pakistan the extra runs and at the end, they proved to be too many for the Windies.The best part about the win for the tourists was that everyone contributed to their success. Azam registered his career best ODI score while Hasan Ali notched up his personal best with the ball.They dominated proceedings right from the word go. The new ball bowlers struck in time before the spinners then chipped in to reduce the home side to 75-6.Jason Holder and Ashley Nurse shared a 58-run stand to delay the inevitable but Ali’s heroics ensured that Pakistan sealed the deal in time.But what will be interesting today is Holder’s leadership as well as the finishing skills will be put through a stern test for the inconsistent hosts.Holder’s captaincy may not be under immediate threat but a series loss will certainly raise questions about his ability to marshal his resources.