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Hashim Amla, Kolpak deal
Hashim Amla (Image Credit: Reuters)
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Hashim Amla Ready To Sign Kolpak Deal: Report

Hashim Amla was a special name in South African cricket. Around two months ago, Amla announced his retirement from international cricket. Now, he is reportedly going to sign the Kolpak deal.

Kolpak has surely hit the South African cricket massively in recent times. Some great talented South African players have prematurely ended their international career for South Africa due to the Kolpak deal. The lack of proper opportunities in South African cricket is one of the major reasons why some top South African cricketers have signed this deal.

Read More: Faf du Plessis Expecting More Spin-Friendly Wicket In Pune Test

Hashim Amla is likely becoming the next former South African cricketer to sign the Kolpak deal. The 36-year-old has already retired from international cricket. He announced his retirement from international cricket in last August, after the conclusion of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.

Hashim Amla, Kolpak deal
Hashim Amla (Image Credit: Twitter)

ESPNcricinfo has recently reported that Surrey County Cricket Club is likely to offer him a two-year contract. Notably, Surrey has already a Kolpak player – former South African pacer Morne Morkel.

The report has further added that the club is hoping to finalise this deal in this week before the Brexit day arrives. The latest deadline for Brexit is on 31st October 2019. If Brexit happens, then the Kolpak deals may not be possible.

ESPNcricinfo has also further added that Middlesex and Hampshire have also shown their interest on Hashim Amla.

Hashim Amla had rich records in international career

Former South African cricketer Hashim Amla played 124 Tests, 181 ODIs and 44 T20Is. The right-handed batsman scored 9,282 Test runs (average 46.64), 8,113 ODI runs (49.46) and 1,277 T20I runs (average 33.60). He is South Africa’s second-most Test run-scorer and third most international run-scorer. Amla is the only triple-centurion for South Africa in Test cricket history.

Hashim Amla, Kolpak deal
Hashim Amla (Image Credit: Google)

Hashim Amla last played in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. He scored 203 runs in seven innings (average 40.60) during that tournament. Though he scored two half-centuries and also had a very good batting average, he was mostly inconsistent. Meanwhile, the entire South African team also disappointed in that tournament as they finished in the seventh position.

Read More: Jonty Rhodes Talks About Best Fielder, Virat Kohli And Surfing In India

Virat Kohli India tour of England 2018
India captain Virat Kohli would be hoping to turn the tables around when he leads India to England for Five-Match Test series in 2018. Image Courtesy: Getty Images
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Why Virat Kohli Playing in the County Circuit is a Masterstroke?

Indian cricket at this moment is probably at its shining best, with the team excelling colossally in all forms of the game. Be it achieving glory in the whites with the red ball, or decimating the opposition in the shorter formats; the last few years have witnessed a stellar rise of the men in blue. One big, or rather, the most prominent reason behind India’s transformation into a world dominating team, has been the sheer aura and charisma of someone special by the name of Virat Kohli. Kohli alone has brought about an absolute revolution in the perception of the sport, not just in India, but across the globe.

Based on just his complete determination to succeed at all costs, the Indian skipper has won millions of hearts across the entire cricketing fraternity. Be it his work ethics on the cricket field, where winning is his sole intention, or off it, where he sweats it out hard in the gym to iron out all flaws, Kohli currently stands out as an unconditional role model for all youngsters.

Why Virat Kohli Playing in the County Circuit is a Masterstroke? 1
Virat Kohli sweats it out in the gym

The First Man of Indian cricket has once again aced the cards by opting for a rigorous county circuit, barely days after the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) comes to an end on May 27th. The speculation of Kohli participating in the County scene was vibrant for a while; before the same got confirmed on the dotted lines on Thursday.

The world’s number two Test batsman is all set to turn out for Surrey in the County Championship for the month of June. As a direct consequence of this decision, Kohli will miss the historic one-off Test against Afghanistan at home starting June 14th, but if one was to judge through a rational mindset, the pros of playing in the county circuit hold higher leverage than the Test against Afghanistan.

There is a specific motivation behind Kohli opting for a stint with Surrey, overstaying back at home post the IPL and unwinding in his free time. Later this year, India is all set to lock horns with England for a five-match Test series and that alone promises to be a thorough examination of this energetic, young and vibrant Indian team.

The last couple of tours to England have been forgettable episodes for the Indians, at least keeping in mind the Tests. Back in 2011, the MS Dhoni-led side was whitewashed 4-0 by an ever ruthless outfit led by Andrew Strauss. Things improved marginally on the side’s very next tour to the nation, but the result was once again disappointing.

In 2014, India were blanked 3-1 across five games, as the sole victory came at Lord’s, thanks to a memorable bowling display from Ishant Sharma. On the darker side, that Test series ended with India getting bundled for a paltry 94. To add to that, the last couple of Tests during India’s 2014 tour to England saw an abject surrender from the visitors, as both games ended within three days.

Why Virat Kohli Playing in the County Circuit is a Masterstroke? 2
Virat Kohli said he put too much pressure on himself on the 2014 English Tests tour, where he miserably failed as a batsman.

The stakes were reasonably high for Virat Kohli during that 2014 tour of England, as it was bound to be his first assignment in whites in that part of the globe.

Kohli back then was being termed as the next big thing in Test cricket, and the stage was slightly set for him to showcase his zeal in whites. Instead, a distressing eight weeks followed not just for Kohli alone, but all his fans across the globe. The Delhi dasher endured probably the most terrible phase of his cricketing career, as the English pacers, mainly James Anderson preyed on him.

Throughout the series, images of a visibly disturbed Kohli graced the front pages of newspapers and magazines, as the off stump woes riddled Kohli’s tour of England.

Innings after innings, the flamboyant stroke-maker was peppered with deliveries on the fifth stump, to which all he did was poke tentatively. The result was crushing for Kohli, as he ended up nicking deliveries in the slip cordon and returned with malignant figures.

Why Virat Kohli Playing in the County Circuit is a Masterstroke? 3
Virat Kohli averaged a mere above 13 in the five Tests against England in 2014.

With just 134 runs across ten innings on his maiden voyage to the shores of England, the series painted an awfully sorry portrait of Virat Kohli. Numerous questions were raised about Kohli’s ability to bat in testing conditions, with some greats blatantly branding Kohli, a “flat track bully”.

The tiger was cornered seriously in the summer of 2014 in England, but then, it’s a cornered tiger that attacks in the most vicious way. That was precisely what Kohli did right in the side’s next Test assignment, on the shores of Down Under. Barely four months after his nightmare tour of UK, Kohli stole the show in Australia with an eye-popping tally of 692 runs in four Test matches.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli scored a staggering 692 runs against Australia in 2014/15 tour. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

India might have lost that series, but just to witness the resurrection of Virat Kohli, was a victory keeping in mind the long-term prospects to be had. A clear change was witnessed in Kohli’s batting style, as his stance was far more upright and erect. There was a clear understanding of where his off stump was, and there was no nervous nibbling around that corridor of uncertainty.

A more confident Kohli was seen, who wasn’t afraid to hold back, and across those four games, Kohli churned out some memorable knocks. The change Kohli made to his batting technique, working in tandem with the then team director Ravi Shastri was visible, as the Indian batting sensation displayed a sense of domination in every aspect.

Virat Kohli County Cricket
Virat Kohli is keen on his County stint ahead of the England tour. Credits: BCCI

As India now return to England for a five-match episode, the stakes are once again high. In the last four years, Kohli has built a superman like stature for himself, with some unparalleled displays across formats.

The move from the Indian skipper to play in the county circuit is an absolute masterstroke. First and foremost, it will aid Kohli in acclimatizing to the conditions. For any batsman to succeed in daunting conditions like England, getting used to the external factors holds the key. In places like England, you just cannot go on any random day and expect to win games for your team. That is far from reality.

The three First Class games which Kohli will feature in for the month of June will be against some respected county teams of England, featuring some top players. One of Kohli’s counterparts could be Dale Steyn when Surrey takes on Hampshire in their fixture.

Even if Kohli returns with sorry numbers for the month of June, it will be least significant. What will be more important; will be the amount of time Kohli spends in the middle, under the gloomy overcast skies of UK, and against some serious swing bowlers. Just the move to turn out for Surrey for a number of games will surely help the Indian skipper in ironing out his flaws, be it his tentativeness around the off stump or develop more patience into his batting.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli would be hoping to turn the tables around this time when he leads India in England for a five-match Test series.

Knowing the hunger Kohli has for runs and for success, it would be least surprising to find out the batting icon topping the run charts during India’s upcoming tour of England.

The stage is well set for Kohli to stamp his authority on England, in the months to follow.

Darren Gough, Australia, England, India, ICC World Cup 2019
Gough believes Australia can win the title. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
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Darren Gough Urges County Sides to Not Sign Disgraced Aussie Trio

Days after Surrey coach, Michael Di Venuto suggested the county club would have no hesitation in signing either Steven Smith or David Warner for the season ahead; he has been slammed by former England fast bowler Darren Gough for thinking of signing the banned players.

Both Smith and Warner along with opening batsman Cameron Bancroft have been banned by Cricket Australia for ball-tampering in South Africa.

Darren Gough
CA has suspended Warner, Smith and Bancroft. Image Courtesy: Twitter

Smith and Warner have been handed a 12-month ban while the latter has been handed a nine-month ban.

However, all three of them are permitted to play in overseas domestic competitions.

Cameron Bancroft, Darren Gough
Cameron Bancroft’s Surrey contract was also cancelled. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Before the Surrey coach made any such statement, Smith and Warner’s multi-million dollar contracts for the Indian Premier League were ripped.

On the other hand, Bancroft who was supposed to play with Somerset in the county season also got excluded from the squad.

Michael Di Venuto, Darren Gough
Michael Di Venuto who played for Australia is Surrey’s current coach. Image Courtesy: Twitter

However, former England bowler Darren Gough has made it clear that he is strongly against any of the two suspended Australians playing county cricket.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked when I heard that Surrey coach Michael Di Venuto said he would be keen to sign one of Australia’s banned Test stars. I do think there has been an overreaction regarding the bans, but once they got the 12-month bans from Cricket Australia, I would be hugely disappointed if one of the counties – as a Yorkshire fan – employed one of those three this season. Next season, I would have no issue with it. They will have then served their ban. But not this season.”

Gough was also furious on Venuto after the Australian said that allowing Smith and Warner to play in county cricket would help Australian cricket.

Also Read: David Warner Becomes Construction Worker After Facing Ban from Cricket

With the next Ashes to be played in England in 2019, Gough was disappointed by Venuto’s statement.

Darren Gough
Darren Gough has slammed Di Venuto’s suggestion to sign Smith or Warner. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

“What disappointed me most about what Di Venuto said was that he actually stated that bringing in one of those three would benefit Australian cricket. I am not bothered about benefiting Australian cricket. Why would one of our coaches in this country want to benefit their cricket with the Ashes coming up here next year?” 

“This year, with everything that has gone on, I think it would be a bad move for a county to take them.”

Tampering, ICC, Cricket Australia, Sanctions, ICC, Steven Smith, David Warner, Cameron Bancroft
Warner and Smith were banned for one year. Photo Credit: AP.
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Minute Chances of Steven Smith, David Warner Playing County Cricket

The chances of Steven Smith and David Warner playing the County Cricket (Surrey) looks minimum as of now.

As per a report in Sportstar, the county club has no plans to sign any of the two cricketers.

The chances of these two playing county cricket were gained strength when M di Venuto, the Head Coach of Surrey, said these two could play the domestic matches in England.

Adam Voges, Australia, Cameron Bancroft, Steven Smith, Cape Town, South Africa
Smith, Warner and Bancroft were banned for one year. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Smith and Warner, along with Cameron Bancroft, were banned by Cricket Australia for their involvement in ‘sandpaper gate’.

(Read Here: Cricket Australia denies appointing Justin Langer as Head Coach)

While the duo was banned for one year, Bancroft will have to sit out for nine months. The rules in the ban allow all the three cricketers to play grade cricket in Australia and county cricket in England.

It seemed like they will play county cricket as well, but Somerset terminated Bancroft’s contract, thus stating they will not allow a banned player.

Steven Smith, David Warner, Australia, South Africa, Cape Town, Cricket Australia, Ban
Steven Smith and David Warner are unlikely to play county cricket. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

There were reports that Surrey was interested in Smith, but now chances of him plying his trade in county cricket look minute.

(Read Here: Slowly things are turning in a good direction: Dinesh Karthik)

Already, Smith and Warner were also banned from IPL, as BCCI decided not to allow banned players to play in the league. Both the players were retained by their franchises and were to lead their teams as well.

While Rajasthan Royals had to hand over captaincy job to Ajinkya Rahane, Sunrisers Hyderabad opted for Kane Williamson as captain. Smith, Warner and Bancroft are open to making a comeback as soon as their ban period gets over.

Both Warner and Smith will have their eye on the 2019 World Cup, where Australia will go as the defending champions.

Australia will also have a new captain in the World Cup, as Smith cannot take the role for two years while Warne will never be considered for the job, again.

On the other hand, Bancroft will eye Ashes 2019. He will have to perform well in domestic cricket to earn a comeback to the national side.

Recently, Cricket Australia also dropped the three players from central contract list, as they were not eligible to be handed contracts over the ‘sandpaper gate’.

Mitchell Marsh
Mitchell Marsh is hopeful of getting fit in time before the Pakistan tour in September. Image Courtesy: Getty Images
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Mitchell Marsh Optimistic About Recovering Before Pakistan Series

Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who had an excellent Ashes series with both bat and ball is optimistic about his recovery and hopes to be fit for the series against Pakistan in September-October.

Marsh underwent successful ankle surgery last week in Melbourne.

Mitchell Marsh
Mitchell Marsh missed his county stint with Surrey due to an ankle injury. Image Courtesy: Twitter

Marsh was expected to get fit before the start of the Australian domestic summer, but the all-rounder now says he hopes to be fit in time for a Test series against Pakistan in the UAE.

Mitchell Marsh
Mitchell Marsh scored two centuries in the Ashes. Image Courtesy: Twitter

Marsh had an excellent summer at home, as he managed to establish himself in the Australian Test side on the back of two centuries during the Ashes.

However, his form took a dip with the bat in South Africa, as he was unable to repeat the performances. His best score was in Durban where he scored a fighting 96.

Mitchell Marsh
Mitchell Marsh struggled with the bat in South Africa. Image Courtesy: Twitter

Marsh fought with his fitness throughout the South African tour, as he battled a stomach bug in Port Elizbeth and then overcame a groin strain to feature in the Cape Town Test.

“(I’m going to) keep my feet up for a couple of weeks then get stuck into pre-season with Western Australia. Hopefully, I can try and get over to play for Surrey at some stage, but if not be ready for Test matches in September.”

Marsh’s injury meant he had to withdraw from his contract with Surrey for the upcoming county season. Marsh was supposed to play in all three formats for Surrey.

Mitchell Marsh
Mitchell Marsh will also miss the upcoming County season. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

However, the tour is not yet confirmed, but it is expected to have two Tests and a limited overs series late September.

It is also the second consecutive winter that Marsh will spend recovering from surgery. The all-rounder returned from India last year to undergo a shoulder surgery.

Here’s the news feed:

SA vs AUS 2018: Dean Elgar Thinks Australian Team’s New ‘Docile’ Attitude Won’t Last Long

Glenn Maxwell Reckons Ball-Tampering Saga Extremely Tough for Australia

Morne Morkel Kolpak Deal
Morne Morkel to join English County Surrey as a Kolpak player.
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Morne Morkel Joins Surrey as Kolpak Player

South African pacer Morne Morkel is all set to join Surrey as a Kolpak player for the coming county season.

The right-arm pacer had announced his retirement from international cricket before the start of the ongoing Tests series against Australia.

Morne Morkel Joins Surrey as Kolpak Player 4
Morne Morkel. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

There were hopes that he will soon take the Kolpak route and now, it got confirmed that he will play for Surrey.

He will join the long list of players who have signed the Kolpak deal in the past one year.

Morkel is currently playing the fourth and the final Test against Australia but had to leave the field mid-day due to strain.

It is not yet concerned whether he will retake the field in his final Test or not. Morkel recently entered the 300 wickets club during the third Test against Australia.

Morkel is the second player in recent times to take the Kolpak route. Recently, Heino Kuhn, who played four Test matches against England in 2017, joined Kent as Kolpak payer. Morkel will join India captain Virat Kohli in Surrey.

Kohli, though, is yet to confirm the development but it is confirmed he will play for the county.

Morne Morkel Joins Surrey as Kolpak Player 5

Morkel will retire from international cricket with 85 Tests, 117 ODIs and 44 T20Is to his credit. In ODIs, he has 188 wickets while in T20Is, he scalped 47 wickets.

Morkel’s exit from South Africa’s pace attack is all set to open the doors for Dale Steyn, who will fill in the experience in the side. He is also expected to join county club (Hampshire) as an overseas player.

Meanwhile, the ongoing Test match between Australia and South Africa has been stopped due to poor light and drizzle.

South Africa are currently leading by 410 runs with a play of more than five sessions remaining. There is no clarity whether Morkel will be available to bowl in the final innings or not.

South Africa would need his services in the last innings to win the Test match. The hosts are currently leading in the series by a margin of 2-1

Here is the news feed:

Devendra Bundela retires from domestic cricket

D’Arcy Short to have a late arrival in IPL due to lost passport

Photo credits: BCCI

Steven Smith Could Play County Cricket Along With Virat Kohli For Surrey

Steven Smith, the former Aussie captain, is in line to play county season for Surrey in the coming season.

Interestingly, Virat Kohli is also expected to turn out for the same team in the summer.

This could see both the players playing for the same team in the county season.

Should they both confirm the deal, Surrey would become one of strongest sides in the tournament.

Steven Smith Could Play County Cricket Along With Virat Kohli For Surrey 6
Virat Kohli is set for maiden county stint with Surrey

First talking of Kohli, he is all set for a county season before England series.

His poor form on previous England tour is the reason behind him considering a county stint.

He could manage 134 runs in five Test matches at an average of 13.40.

Kohli will miss historic Afghanistan Test to play county cricket.

Coming to Smith, he was recently banned by Cricket Australia for one year.

Smith was also stripped off captaincy for two years.

Not just him, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were also banned for one year and nine months, respectively.

All the three players are eligible to play Grade cricket in Australia and County Cricket in England, though.

While Bancroft will play for Somerset, Smith could play for Surrey along with Virat Kohli.

David Warner is also expected to sign a deal with a county club during the banned period.

If Australian players sign deal with different clubs, they will play in England at the same time when Australia will play limited-overs series against England in England.

Former Indian player Atul Wassan has come hard against Australian Steven Smith, in particular, following the fresh ball tampering controversy which has taken world cricket by storm.
Steven Smith has been ruled out of IPL. Photo Credit: BCCI/IPL.

With Warner and Smith ruled out of IPL, they will surely look for county offers.

In fact, this season, many of the county clubs are looking for foreign players.

Ishant Sharma (Sussex), Cheteshwar Pujara and Varun Aaron (Leisturchere) are all set to play county cricket.

Morne Morkel, South African pacer, is also in line to play county cricket.

He has already retired from international cricket and might announce a Kolpak deal soon.

Heino Kuhn, who played four Tests for South Africa last year, has already joined Kent as a Kolpak player.

Mitchell Marsh will also play county cricket this season – for Surrey.

The coming county season is all set to be a star-studded affair, as it looks.

Mitchell Marsh | Australian cricket team |
Mitchell Marsh might be handed Australia's Test captaincy. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Mitchell Marsh Confirms IPL Unavailability, Signs For Surrey For Full Season

Australian all-rounder, Mitchell Marsh, is all set to miss the eleventh edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) as he has signed a signed a deal with Surrey for the full county season. He will be playing as an overseas player for the county.

(Read Here: Sachin Tendulkar’s tweet for Virender Sehwag leaves him surprise)

Mithcell Marsh | Australian cricket team |
Mitchell Marsh during a practice session

There are quite a rare cases of players missing the IPL to play county cricket. In fact, England players themselves choose IPL’s lucrative contract, but Marsh has surprised everyone by this decision.

It is to be noted that there will be a mega auction next season and the franchises will be allowed to spend huge bucks to buy players, but Marsh has resisted these deals.

Imran Tahir | Rising Pune Supergiant |
Imran Tahir celebrates a wicket. Image: BCCI

He was a part of Rising Pune Supergiant during IPL 10 but was ruled out before the start of the tournament due to an injury. He was replaced by South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who surprisingly went unsold in the auction.

“The opportunity to challenge myself in English conditions is something I can’t wait for. I have followed the team closely this year and hopefully, I’ll be able to contribute to some silverware, along with helping a young squad grow and improve,” said Marsh after signing the county deal.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli had also indicated playing county cricket when he spoke about the matter during the India-England Test series last year. India is all set to tour Egland next year, and a county stint would help the Indian sipper but look at the schedule of team India, by no means Kohli can make himself available for any county.

After the end of Independence Cup in March, Indian players will be busy playing IPL and will then tour England for a high-class series. The scheduling issues mean that Kohli cannot play county as no franchise would like him to miss him any game.

(Read Here: Rangana Herath is one of my role models: R Ashwin)

Cheteshwar Pujara | Indian cricket team |
(Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

However, the unsold players have played county cricket in the past. Recently, Cheteshwar Pujara played county cricket after he went unsold in IPL and then returned for another stint after the end of Sri  Lankan series. R Ashwin was also one of the players who played county cricket after being rested from the Indian team.

Ishant Sharma was too in talks for a county stint but was purchased by Kings XI Punjab as a replacement of Murali Vijay, which prevented him from travelling to England.

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