Mumbai: While a section in BCCI was reportedly disappointed with the fact that Virat Kohli was going to miss the Afghanistan Test in June, it is now confirmed that the Indian cricket team skipper will play county cricket to prepare for a gruelling England tour in the month of July.
Kohli will play for the English county side Surrey. “Kohli will be available for all cricket throughout the month until the close of Surrey’s trip to Scarborough to face Yorkshire,” said Surrey after signing Kohli.
However, it is now learnt 8 more Indian cricketers, in addition to Kohli, may skip the one-off Test against Afghanistan as they prepare of the England series.
It is now reported that R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan will also the miss the Bengaluru Test against Afghanistan and the players, who were a part of India’s Nidahas Trophy squad, will be in a running to play the Test.
“Test specialists are set to travel to UK for early acclimatization. Everyone has hailed it as good planning on part of the CoA. Isn't it more important for India to prepare for the Test in England than fielding the maximum firepower against Afghanistan?” a source close to the Committee of Administrators (CoA) was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
While Kohli and Ashwin have County cricket contracts and will fly to England after the conclusion of the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Ishant and Pujara are already in England, playing County cricket.
“There is clear understanding that those playing in the County Championship should stay back in England, while another batch of three to four regular Test cricketers could go with the India A team under Rahul Dravid to get used to the conditions there. The focus is on ensuring that all the regular Test batsmen get good practice in England before the Test series begins,” added the source.
India will play three ODIs, three Twenty20s and five Tests against England.
Indian team for the England ODIs, India A tour to England and Afghanistan Test will be picked on May 8.
“There will be three squads that will be selected on May 8. The Afghanistan Test is from June 14-18, followed by UK tour that starts with two-match ODI series against Ireland in Dublin. The selectors will also name the India A squad that will tour England in June,” a senior BCCI official had earlier told PTI.
It was also reported that, the Indian A team will have seven regular players from the senior side, including Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya among others. They will be leaving for UK soon after the match against Afghanistan. India A tour of UK begins on June 21.