- Kohli is set to skip India's Test against Afghanistan in order to play county cricket.
- He will be leading India in a five-Test series against England, starting August 1 in Birmingham.
- Kohli had struggled in English conditions that last time India toured England.
Even as a few fans are unhappy over letting Virat Kohli get assimilated to the English conditions ahead of India's tour of England in the upcoming summer, former cricketers and experts have lauded the India captain for his willingness to prioritise the longest format of the game at a time when T20 globetrotting seems to be the norm.
Surrey County Cricket Club Thursday, May 3, announced the signing of Kohli on a one-month deal. The 29-year-old will be three limited-over and three first-class matches for the Brown Caps between June 1 and 28.
"It has long been an ambition of mine to play county cricket and I am thankful to Alec Stewart and Surrey for allowing me the opportunity to join them during their 2018 season. I can't wait to get to the Kia Oval," Kohli said after the signing was made official, as quoted by the county's official website.
Kohli had voiced his willingness to play county cricket in the past as well and the upcoming stint gives him an opportunity to bury the memories of a horrid patch he suffered in England in 2014 and start afresh during the much-anticipated Test series, starting August 1.
Notably, the Delhi batsman averaged 13.50 in 10 innings as he struggled on green tops and seamer-friendly conditions.
Surrey's schedule during Kohli stint
- Vs Kent (Royal London One Day Cup) - June 1 at Worsley Bridge Road
- Vs Middlesex (Royal London One Day Cup) - June 3 at Lord's
- Vs Glamorgan (Royal London One Day Cup) - June 6 at The Kia Oval
- vs Hampshire (County Championship) - June 9 to 12 at The Ageas Bowl
- Vs Somerset (County Championship) - June 20 to 23 at Guildford CC
- Vs Yorkshire (County Championship) - June 25-28 at Scarborough
Surrey themselves are thrilled to have Kohli playing for them in the month of June. The Indian captain's presence is expected to boost the ticket sales and give the county club a lot of visibility across the country.
Former England wicketkeeper Alec Stewart, the county club's director of cricket, expressed delight at Kohli's signing and opined the youngsters in the side will learn a lot from the top-ranked batsman.
"We are thrilled to have signed the biggest name in world cricket for the month of June. Playing and training alongside Virat will be a massive benefit for our players who will have the opportunity to learn so much from him," Stewart said.
Nasser Hussain lauds Virat Kohli over Surrey signing
Nasser Hussain, the former England captain, heaped praise on Kohli for setting his priorities right and giving himself the best chance to succeed in the upcoming English summer.
"Fair play to Virat Kohli .. in a time where some cricketers are reducing their red ball exposure.. the busiest cricketer on the planet is putting it first to prepare for a test series in England .. giving himself the best chance to succeed!!" Hussain wrote on Twitter.
IBTimes India has compiled a list of reactions to Kohli joining Surrey county cricket club. Check them out below.
What...@imVkohli playing in June @surreycricket ???? I know where I will be ? @StewieCricket you the man what a signing for the club & County cricket!! what a lesson for the young lads to learn off see how he goes about his business & prepares #Worldclass #differentgravy
— Alex Tudor (@alextudorcoach) May 3, 2018
Fair play to Virat Kohli .. in a time where some cricketers are reducing their red ball exposure.. the busiest cricketer on the planet is putting it first to prepare for a test series in England .. giving himself the best chance to succeed!!
— Nasser Hussain (@nassercricket) May 3, 2018
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) May 3, 2018
— Ryan Sidebottom (@RyanSidebottom) May 3, 2018
Surrey lads and county cricket spoilt again by such an amazing signing by @surreycricket, @StewieCricket in @imVkohli
Might warm him up for the test matches vs a swinging ball but there's such a greater benefit to have so many young players playing with and against this legend.
— Chris Tremlett (@ChrisTremlett33) May 3, 2018
Great for the county championship that Virat Kohli is making his way to Surrey for a month this season! Now that is a serious signing! There's going to be some very lucky lads to learn off one of the best?? #Kohli #countycricket
— James Taylor (@jamestaylor20) May 3, 2018
Anyone who criticises Surrey for signing Virat Kohli are just jealous. You would ALL welcome him at your county.
— Lewis Winter (@LewisAWinter) May 3, 2018
And before everyone starts banging on about Mr Kohli getting a hit before the Test Series..it's @imVkohli ...fantastic for the County game ??
— Mark Church (@backandacross) May 3, 2018
ITT people who are upset that it might make Kohli play better in the English test summer. If our best hope of getting Kohli out is lack of familiarity with conditions, then we're doing something wrong. Welcome to Surrey @imVkohli!! Looking forward to watching you bat ?
— alex (@alexei_UK) May 3, 2018
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) May 3, 2018
The English cricket community was not entirely happy though...
@surreycricket this has to be the most stupidest signings of them all! Yes great player but just let him have batting lessons on English wickets right before the England v India tests! #NoLogic #FameBeforeCountry @MichaelVaughan @DGoughie— Ash Baker (@ashbaker6) May 3, 2018
I’m sorry but what’s the point! Paying ridiculous money to give Kohli a chance to get used to conditions for a test series whilst also probably pushing young Englishmen Pope or Patel out the team all in the hope of winning 2 champo games! Really??— Jack Dudleston (@dudlestonj98) May 3, 2018