Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli will be playing for Surrey in June to prepare for India’s tour of England later in July. This is Kohli’s first county cricket tour.
“Surrey County Cricket Club are delighted to announce the signing of India captain Virat Kohli for the month of June,” the club announced on their website on May 3.
“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.
The Indian cricketer is said to have inked the deal to hone his batting skills in England. He will be available for four County Championship matches against Hampshire, Somerset and Yorkshire and possibly three one-day games versus Kent, Middlesex and Glamorgan. Kohli’s spell with Surrey begins on June 1 with a one-day game against Kent at Beckenham.
Alec Stewart, Surrey’s director of cricket, added: “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.”
Kohli will miss the first-ever Test match of India against Afghanistan, scheduled in Bengaluru during June 14-18.
He is also not the only Indian player to feature in the inter-county matches this season. Cheteshwar Pujara is currently at Yorkshire while seamers Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron are at Sussex and Leicestershire, respectively. Axar Patel is supposed to play for Durham in August.
“Contrary to popular belief that Virat will cost a bomb for Surrey, it was completely the other way round. Let’s get it clear. Surrey is paying airfare, accommodation and a very nominal match fee during the month,” a senior BCCI office-bearer privy to the deal told the Press Trust of India. “Since the Board and Virat himself was very keen, the monetary part was least of concern for us,” he added.
“We are not at liberty to quote the amount but it will be a very nominal amount that he will be paid and that is at par with any standard county player. We can vouch it’s a win-win deal for Surrey as well as for the BCCI,” the official said.