India skipper Virat Kohli has reportedly opted to play county cricket for Surrey in June, with a view to improving his batting performance in England before the start of the away series against the opposition. According to a report by news agency PTI, the 29-year old will miss Afghanistan historic Test debut in Bengaluru from June 14 and instead travel to south of London after the conclusion of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 season.
“Virat (Kohli) will be playing for a division one county side for sure. I wouldn’t like to add anything more to it. There were talks with Surrey and Essex,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI.
The report adds that the decision has been taken by the Indian captain in a bid to improve his batting in England, where he has not been able to perform at his best. Kohli has played five Tests in the country and has managed to score only 134 runs at an average of 13.4. If the reports are true, the right-hand batsman will become the first Indian to join Surrey, who have hosted some of the legends over the years.
The report says that Kohli will make himself available for Surrey’s three four-day matches against Hampshire, Somerset and Yorkshire between June 9 and June 28.
He will not be alone in playing county cricket to ready himself for the England tour. Cheteshwar Pujara, who went unsold this year at the IPL Auction, will also play the upcoming season of the county championship for Yorkshire, starting April 7.
India are scheduled to play three T20Is, three ODIs and five Tests against England starting with the first T20I at Old Trafford in Manchester on July 3.