Team India skipper Virat Kohli had planned to play in the county championship for Surrey to prepare for the Test series in England. However, a neck injury and prescribed rest ruled him out of his stint with Surrey.
Director of Surrey County, Alec Stewart stated only time would tell whether the rest will help Kohli or not. It will get discovered after the conclusion of the five-match series. The 1st Test is slated to be played on 1st August.
Virat’s record in England isn’t great
“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 was quoted as saying by PTI when asked whether skipping county stint would help him during Tests or not.
The former English stumper feels had Kohli been fit then it would have benefited both the parties. Kohli is a big match player and arguably the greatest of the modern generation.
Kohli’s stint would have been beneficial for both parties feels Stewart
“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 to pull out at the last moment,” said Stewart.
Stewart believes playing some of the one-day games would help Kohli. However, only a single four-day match won’t be of much help.
“(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.”
Stewart also feels he is very lucky he doesn’t need to buy a ticket to watch Kohli bat.
“As much as people will be scrutinizing his record leading into this Test series, I expect him to succeed. I am lucky enough come to watch cricket and not buy a ticket. But I would gladly pay to watch Virat bat,” he added.
India will pose a sterner challenge feels Stewart
Stewart believes India will pose a much sterner challenge. Many of the Indian players like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma have played county cricket in the recent times. Hence they will be in good stead ahead of the much-hyped tour.
“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.