Out-of-favour India batsman Murali Vijay will play for English County team Somerset in the last three Championship matches of the season.

The stylish Tamil Nadu right-hander replaces Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali, who was recalled by his national team.

“We are pleased to be able to announce that Murali Vijay will be joining the Club as our overseas player for the final three County Championship matches of the season,” Somerset County Cricket Club said on its website.

Vijay said he will try and push Somerset towards the Championships in his stint there.

“I am excited about the challenge of trying to help Somerset push for the County Championship. Somerset have an excellent reputation and I am looking forward to being a part of what they are trying to achieve,” said Vijay, who last played for India in the second Test against Australia at Perth last December.

The 35-year-old has played 61 Tests for India, scoring nearly 3,982 runs at an average of 38.28 with a top score of 167.

In a first-class career spanning 131 matches, he has scored 9,116 runs at an average of 42.79 with a highest of 266.

He featured in three County Championship matches for Essex last season, scoring over 300 runs at an average of 64.60.

Somerset CCC Director of Cricket Andy Hurry said the club was delighted to have Vijay for the reminder of the championship.

“We are delighted to have been able to secure the services of such a high-quality player for the remainder of the County Championship. To have signed a player of his class and ability at this stage of the season is a real coup,” he said.

“He has experience of English conditions, having played in the Championship for Essex last year, and that was extremely important to us when it came to selecting a replacement for Azhar.”