Virat Kohli’s decision to play county cricket before the England series has not gone according to plans after the Indian skipper was ruled out of the county stint due to a neck injury suffered in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018. The BCCI released a statement confirming that Kohli will not be training for the next three weeks.
Kohli is set to resume training on June 15 at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. Fitness tests will then determine whether he flies out for the tour of Ireland and England in the month end. The county stint was the reason why Virat Kohli decided to skip the Afghanistan Test starting from June 14 onwards.
Earlier, the decision showed the batsman’s drive and commitment to achieve excellence in England. After a successful stint against South Africa earlier this year, Kohli wanted to show his mettle in England and prepare well under those conditions beforehand which would have given him the requisite confidence in the five-match Test series.
County was an essential factor for Kohli
The Indian Test skipper was determined to get enough time in the English condition ahead of the Test series against England. Kohli’s decision to turn up for Surrey was lauded, as it could have given him the base to prepare for the big hurdle against the top quality England bowlers. County Cricket in England bode of some world class bowlers, who thrive in swinging conditions.
The star player was in line to become the first Indian player to represent Surrey. The game time mattered most as Kohli was expected to play three four-day matches against Hampshire, Somerset and Yorkshire respectively. He was supposed to make County debut against Hampshire which starts from June 9 in Southampton.
Last tour ended on a dismal note
Kohli had a dismal tour of England in 2014, when India visited the nation last time. India went on to lose the series (3-1) despite starting well. From there on, MS Dhoni’s side lost three successive Test matches with the final match saw England win by an innings and 246 runs. The manner in which India lost was pretty alarming.
When one looks at the way Kohli batted, he used to open up his hip a lot more. The middle-order batsman was constantly looking for the in-swinger and when the ball swung the other way, he was in no position to have any effect. He was often too late in reacting to the ball when it eventually swung.
The numbers for Kohli in England
Kohli’s highest score in that series was a paltry 39 in 10 innings. He ended up with 134 runs at a lowly average of 13.40. His scores read 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0, 7, 6 and 20. Six of the scores was below 10 to show how much the English pacers enjoyed bowling to Kohli. The England pacers accounted for the wicket of Kohli a staggering nine times in 10 innings.
This is set to be only the 2nd time Kohli is touring England and will he be able to come out on top? Only time will tell.
Battle against James Anderson
Anderson is no doubt one of the best bowlers in world cricket. The Englishman is in good form with the red ball off late as he amassed 39 wickets in his last three Test series against West Indies, Australia and New Zealand respectively. Anderson will once again be lethal in home conditions and there is no better bowler who gets the purchase as much as him.
In the 2014 tour, Anderson dismissed Kohli four times. The player was always caught fishing outside the off stump and being caught on most occasions. Kohli had a mental blockade after not starting the tour well, and it reflected when he came out to bat. With conditions assisting pace and swing, it will be a tough battle against a fiery English bowling side.
Adjusting to red ball conditions
Virat Kohli is likely to be fit for the limited overs series against Ireland and England. Five T20Is and three ODIs will see Kohli play white ball cricket. But adjusting to the red ball conditions will be a challenge. That’s where the County stint was so vital as it would have prepared him against the likes of Stuart Broad and Anderson. The pace-bowling duo of james Anderson and Stuart Broad have been menacing at home, showing their class time and time again by ripping apart the opposition.
Pujara, Ishant gain valuable experience
County was an essential factor for England given the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma benefitting from the same. Pujara featured on four First-class matches for Yorkshire and got some valuable time in the middle. He built confidence along the way and has now hit two half-centuries and a ton in his last three List A games.
Pacer Ishant Sharma took 15 wickets for his side Sussex in four First-class matches to show how valuable the stint has been in order to get ready for the England tour.
Indians and County Cricket
County Cricket has provided vital experience for Indian stars over the years and many legends have played for county teams. From Rahul Dravid to the likes of Kapil Dev here are the players, who have featured in County during their careers. They have been listed below
- Ravi Chandran Ashwin (Worcestershire)
- Mohammad Azharuddin (Derbyshire)
- Bishen Singh Bedi (Northamptonshire)
- Kapil Dev (Northamptonshire and Worcestershire)
- Rahul Dravid (Kent)
- Sunil Gavaskar (Somerset)
- Sourav Ganguly (Glamorgan, Lancashire and Northamptonshire)
- Anil Kumble (Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Surrey)
- VVS Laxman (Lancashire)
- Cheteshwar Pujara (Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire)
- Virender Sehwag (Leicestershire)
- Ravi Shastri (Glamorgan)
- Yuvraj Singh (Yorkshire)
- Javagal Srinath (Gloucestershire and Leicestershire)
- Sachin Tendulkar (Yorkshire)