India vs England: Only Virat Kohli can answer in Test series if skipping county stint was helpful, says Alec Stewart

Virat Kohli's much-hyped maiden county stint for Surrey had to be called off due to a neck injury post-IPL, but how much has the rest helped the Indian captain will only be discovered after the end of the Test series, said former England captain Alec Stewart.

Press Trust of India, Jul 22, 2018 19:21:20 IST

London: Virat Kohli's much-hyped maiden county stint for Surrey had to be called off due to a neck injury after the Indian Premier League (IPL), but how much has the rest helped the Indian captain will only be discovered after the end of the Test series, said former England captain Alec Stewart.

Interestingly, Stewart, who is the Director of Cricket for Surrey County, had played a pivotal role in getting Kohli to sign his maiden county contract, where he was supposed to play three four-day games during the months of May and June.

India vs England: Only Virat Kohli can answer in Test series if skipping county stint was helpful, says Alec Stewart

Virat Kohli had earlier skipped a much-hyped stint with Surrey in the ongoing County Championship. Reuters

However a neck injury in IPL and prescribed rest meant that Kohli didn't play for Surrey as he wanted to remain fresh for the gruelling two-and-half month UK tour that has five Test matches.

"Virat has played only a limited number of (Test) matches in England and his record is nowhere near the high quality he has achieved everywhere else around the world. So only he can answer (if rest helped him more) and we will know at the end of this series," Stewart told PTI when asked if skipping the county stint would help him during Tests or not.

Stewart believes that had Kohli been fit, his stimt would have proved to be mutually benefical for both parties.

"In my conversation with him (Kohli), we told him that we very much wanted him at Surrey for that month (May), and he told us he wanted to be here. It would have helped Surrey and it would have definitely helped Virat as well. But circumstances around that neck injury meant that he had pull out at the last moment," said Stewart.

While Kohli will only get one four-day game as a warm-up before the Test match, Stewart feels that playing limited-overs matches will be of some help though.

"(But) He has had the white-ball internationals to get ready for the Test series. When you have the quality of Virat, you adjust accordingly and I expect him to have a big impact on the Test series. His record here cannot get worse, it can only improve and world-class players find a way of succeeding in tough conditions."

In jest, Stewart said that he is lucky that he doesn't have to buy a ticket to watch Virat bat.

"As much as people will be scrutinising his record leading into this Test series, I expect him to succeed. I am lucky enough come watch cricket and not buy a ticket. But I would gladly pay to watch Virat bat," he added.

Stewart is also hopeful that India will perform better this time as likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma have all played county in the past two seasons, which will keep them in good stead.

"The likes of Pujara, Ashwin and Ishant have played in England before but to play more recently in the county circuit, in preparation for the Test series, it can only get better for India. The more you get used to conditions and different playing environments, the better it is going to be as an international cricketer. So, it will definitely help India that important members of their Test side have played here," Stewart said.

Updated Date: Jul 22, 2018 19:21:20 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
6 Sri Lanka 3795 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
6 New Zealand 4784 252