(Eds: With conformation quotes from COA chief Vinod Rai and schedule) New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) India captain Virat Kohli is all set to play County cricket in his bid to prepare for the upcoming Test series against England in August-September.
While it is yet to be ascertained which county Kohli will represent, it could be London-based Surrey in all likelihood.
It is learnt that the Indian captain’s sole focus is on the five Test series against England and he is ready to miss the one off Test against Afghanistan starting June 14 as he will be busy with his county stint.
“Virat Kohli will be playing for the top English County side Surrey in the month of June. The BCCI has allowed him to fully focus on the England Test series along with Cheteshwar Pujara (Yorkshire), Ravichandran Ashwin (Warwickshire) and Ishant Sharma (Sussex). Virat will miss the Test match against Afghanistan in Bangalore from June 14-18,” COA chief Vinod Rai told PTI during an interaction.
“The decision has been taken in consultation with the players as we felt after the South Africa series, our Test team needs more time to acclimatise before the England Test series. The BCCI were in talks with the various counties as we wanted our main players to get county exposure,” Rai added.
Kohli will leave for England after completing his assignment for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 11th edition of Indian Premier League.
Kohli will play June 9-12 encounter against Hampshire at Ageas Bowl in Southampton followed by another away match against Somerset at Woodbridge Road in Guldford (not Taunton) from June 20-23.
The third and final county game will be against Yorkshire from June 25 at Scarborough. This is the match, where Kohli will be pitted against Pujara.
Kohli didn’t have a great Test series in England in 2014 when he failed to get even a single half century scoring only 134 runs.
He was found vulnerable outside the off-stump and Stuart Broad and James Anderson troubled him a lot.
The BCCI is putting in a lot of effort for the upcoming Test series and want more and more players to get accustomed to English conditions.
Accordingly, Pujara will be turning up for Yorkshire while Ishant will be playing for Sussex.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.