Virat Kohli to join Surrey ahead of India's tour of England
What's the story?
According to reports in the Times of India, Indian skipper Virat Kohli is all set to join English County side Surrey in a bid to boost his preparations for India's upcoming tour of England from June 2018.
With an abysmal Test record in England - 134 runs from 5 Tests at an average of 13.40 - Kohli had a terrible time during India's 5-Test series against England in 2014 when the visitors suffered a 3-1 series loss despite drawing the 1st Test and winning the 2nd Test at Lord's.
Kohli is set to join Surrey in June following the IPL and this would mean that he would miss Afghanistan's historic maiden Test against India at Bangalore starting June 14.
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Despite Kohli's astounding success all over the globe, Kohli has found the going tough in England, especially in Test cricket.
Former Indian skipper Kapil Dev had commented earlier this year that a stint in County Cricket will help Kohli in his preparations for the 5-Test series and the 29-year-old has obliged.
The heart of the matter
India's tour to England in 2018 will feature five Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is and having come up narrowly short against South Africa on their own turf in the three-match Test series earlier this year, Kohli and his boys would be hoping for a much better outcome in England.
India had very little time to acclimatise to the surroundings in South Africa and went on to suffer losses in the first two Tests before winning the final one.
The BCCI was slammed for the way they hurriedly arranged a short-series against Sri Lanka at home leaving the team with no time to even play a practice game before the first Test in South Africa.
Kohli is certainly taking matters into his own hand and will now skip India's Test against Afghanistan at home and instead head to England for a stint in the County Championship.
He is likely to feature in three four-day matches for Surrey between June 9 and 28 against Hampshire, Somerset, and Yorkshire with the latter likely to have Cheteshwar Pujara in their ranks as well.
Kohli will be leading the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the eleventh edition of the IPL starting 4th April and depending on RCB's progress in the competition which extends up to 31st May, will take a final call on when he will be heading to England to join up with his new teammates at Surrey.
While Indian cricketers are not new to County Cricket, Kohli only be the second Indian international after Pragyan Ojha to play for Surrey.
Along with Pujara and Kohli, pace bowler Ishant Sharma and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is also expected to have a stint in County cricket ahead of the tour.
It is a very good move on Kolhi's part that he chosen to shore up his preparations with a stint in County Cricket.
It was evident how a lack of preparation hurt India's chances in South Africa and one would certainly hope that the BCCI and the players have learnt a lesson from that experience.
The Indian skipper's troubles against the moving ball in England, particularly against James Anderson, was well documented last time around, and the 29-year-old will be hoping to work out his flaws before the 5-Test series against England commences.