Virat Kohli remains eager for a spell in county cricket ahead of India’s tour of England later this year after it was confirmed last month that the BCCI had granted permission for him to seek a deal.
Test success in England remains the one major missing piece to Kohli’s stellar career after he endured a torrid series in 2014 where he made 134 runs in five Tests at 13.40.
He was strongly linked with Surrey recently but a deal has not been confirmed. The county are in need of overseas cover, however, having lost Mitchell Marsh to injury. They have signed Dean Elgar for the first two months of the season but a window in June which fits with Kohli’s schedule after the IPL remains a possibility, although that would mean Kohli missing the one-off Test against Afghanistan.
“Playing county cricket will help me improve my game,” the 29-year-old batsman NDTV. “I think it makes things more challenging and more competitive and there are no guarantees whether you are going to do well even if you go in advance.
“It’s just about giving yourself more opportunity to get used to the conditions that you are not used to.”
Two of India’s senior Test players, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma, are already playing county cricket for Yorkshire and Sussex respectively. Pujara’s first outing, against Essex, was abandoned without a ball bowled at Headingley but Ishant impressed with five wickets against Warwickshire.
The BCCI is keen to learn from the experience in South Africa earlier this year when India arrived with barely any preparation. “This time we have been pro-active because post the South Africa experience we felt that exposure was essential for the team,” Vinod Rai, the chairman of the committee of administrators, the body governing the BCCI said.
India have one four-day warm-up match, against Essex at Chelmsford, ahead of the five-match Test series which begins on August 1. In 2014 they were 1-0 up after two matches, following victory at Lord’s, but ended up losing the series 3-1.