Virat Kohli signs for English county Surrey, will miss Test against Afghanistan

New Delhi [India]: Indian skipper Virat Kohli has signed a deal with top English county side Surrey ahead of England Test tour later this summer, meaning he will miss his country’s inaugural Test match against Afghanistan, starting in Bengaluru on 14 June.

Surrey County Cricket Club officially announced their deal with Kohli on Thursday on their website

“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

“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,” said Kohli. “I can’t wait to get to The Oval [Surrey’s home ground],” the ICC website quoted the 29-year-old, as saying.

Virat Kohli will play English domestic cricket in the lead-up to India’s five-Test series.

The 29-year-old averaged 13.40 across 10 innings on his only previous Test tour of England in 2014 and has made no secret of his desire to acclimatise to conditions by playing county cricket in the lead-up to a five-match series which begins at Edgbaston on 1 August. India also have three T20Is and three ODIs in July before the long-format battle commences.

Kohli had an uncharacteristically lean series in England in 2014.

Kohli will become the fourth Indian Test player in English county cricket this season, with Ishant Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara preparing for the series against England at Sussex and Yorkshire respectively, while Varun Aaron, who played the last of his nine Test matches in 2015, is representing Leicestershire.

Alec Stewart, former England captain and now Surrey’s director of cricket, said: “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.

“At a time when there is much discussion around the future of county cricket, the arrival of Virat should give our domestic game a massive boost and positive exposure around the cricketing world which in turn can benefit every county.”

Kohli is expected to make his debut for Surrey on 1 June in a One-Day Cup fixture against Kent at Beckenham, and there are at least two further 50-over matches as well as three four-day County Championship games during his time with the club. (ANI)