India skipper Virat Kohli will not be part of Afghanistan’s debut Test in India — which is scheduled to be played at Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy Stadium from 14 June — as the prolific batsman will be heading to England to play county cricket for Surrey.
According to a report in The Times of India, Kohli is expected to play in three four-day matches for Surrey — scheduled between 9-28 June — against Hampshire, Somerset and Yorkshire. Kohli will become the first Indian to play for Surrey. He will go to England right after the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) ends on 27 May.
Kohli’s troubles in England are well documented. During the 2014 England series, Kohli’s scores in five Tests read 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0, 7, 6 and 20. The batsman, who has since become one of the best batsman in the world, later admitted that the series was a setback in his career.
"I had put too much pressure on myself before going to England that I needed to score here. I don't know why sub-continent players are given different benchmarks that we have to perform in certain countries and if you don't do that, you are not considered a good player. I think it was more about me being desperate to do well in England and then when you don't do well at start, you start going down mentally," Kohli had told former England captain Nasser Hussain on bcci.tv in an interview.
India’s tour of England will begin on 1 August at Edgbaston.
Indian legend Kapil Dev had suggested earlier this month that Kohli should have a county stint to overcome his woes in England.
"If he can play a season or two in English county cricket there would be nothing wrong, because if you want to be the best player in the world you have to get runs everywhere," Kapil Dev had said.
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The wily leg-spinner, who is in high demand in T20 leagues around the world, plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and has been signed up by Lahore Qalandars for the remaining matches of the ongoing Pakistan Super League.
The WTC final against New Zealand will be held from 18-22 June at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and the members of the Indian squad will disperse for close to three weeks (20 days) before regrouping on 14 July.
Kohli, accompanied by head coach Ravi Shastri, addressed reporters ahead of the squad's flight to the United Kingdom, where the side will play the ICC WTC final followed by a five-match Test series against England