Bob Willis unhappy with Virat Kohli's county stint
What's the story?
Former England fast bowler Bob Willis has expressed his displeasure at the fact that India captain Virat Kohli will be signed by one of the counties in the upcoming English home season.
In fact, Willis has openly said that he cannot tolerate the presence of overseas players in county cricket at all. "I can't stand overseas players in county cricket," he said. "It doesn't benefit the players stranded in the second XI year on year and the youngsters.”
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Just days back, it was revealed that Kohli would represent one of the county sides – in all probability, it would be Surrey, though nothing has been made official yet – once the Indian Premier League (IPL) gets over on May 27. As a result, he would miss out on the one-off Test against Afghanistan at Bangalore that begins June 14, the first in the format for Test cricket's newest members.
Earlier, when England were in India for a series in late 2016, the 29-year-old had made it known that he would be committing himself to county cricket whenever he got the time. Thus, his signing follows that of his countrymates Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma, who would feature for Yorkshire and Sussex, respectively. A fourth Indian arrival could see Ravi Ashwin have a stint with Warwickshire this season as well.
The heart of the matter
Willis called for more English nationals to be a part of domestic cricket rather than the recruitment of foreign players, especially questioning the signing of Kohli, who averaged 13.40 in the Tests in England in 2014, just ahead of India's tour to England in July this year. "Instead, they're going to pay Kohli, presumably, five figures a match so he can hone his skills in English conditions before a Test series. It's nonsense.”
"He should be made to suffer and average 30 in England as he has done before. We don't want England starting to lose Test matches at home because we're accommodating all of these visiting players,” the 68-year-old stated.
India visit England for a full series starting with the limited-overs leg comprising 3 T20s, 3 ODIs and then 5 Tests. Just before that, India play T20 matches in Ireland, which will be held after the home Test against Afghanistan gets over on June 18.
While it is fair from an England cricketer's point of view to question Kohli's stint immediately before he leads his country on those pitches and in those conditions, at the same time, his presence might help youngsters in the side gain knowledge about the game and learn the correct approach to playing Test cricket.