Bengaluru: Team India captain Virat Kohli will embark on a new chapter in his cricketing career once the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) concludes, as he will represent Surrey County Cricket Club in the English County Championship during June.
While some have criticised Kohli for missing out on the historic Afghanistan Test, others have welcomed Kohli’s decision to play County cricket ahead of a long series against England starting in July.
Recently, England cricketers Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes spoke on the 29-year-old’s upcoming stint with Surrey and how that would help him in the England series.
“I know a few of the Surrey guys and they are not what people make them out to be a lot of the time. But if anyone in that dressing room does think they are a big dog, they will need to sit down for a little while because there is a proper big dog coming,” Moeen was quoted saying by The Guardian.
Woakes, on the other hand said that while Kohli was a passionate and emotional man on the field, he is a calm person off the field.
“You have your perceptions of someone like Virat, who is quite passionate, emotional, in your face and plays it hard.
“But off the field he’s very calm and you can chat about anything. He’s very down to earth and for someone who has such huge pressures and public focus in India, to see him go about his business in this way quite refreshing,” said Woakes.
Both Moeen and Woakes are currently playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL under Kohli’s captaincy, and Woakes said that Kohli will enjoy a different experience when it comes to County cricket.
In my first year of IPL I found as an overseas player you get a lot of attention walking through airports in India. But having him in the team – the No 1, the king – we’re almost irrelevant. It makes you realise what his life is like.
So county cricket will be much more chilled and he’ll enjoy that. Playing at smaller grounds, that will be an experience too. Having spoken to him about it, he loves touring other countries – it’s a release,” he continued.
Meanwhile, Moeen termed the Delhi batsman as a ‘humble’ person.
“You see him on the field and people might think he’s arrogant but it is the complete opposite. He’s so humble it is almost weird how nice he is. He’s the biggest name in India but will ring me to check I’m OK or ask if I fancy lunch.
Sometimes a player will invite the squad to their house for a meal and it would be easy for him to say no. But he would always go. I can say with certainty that anyone who has a bad word doesn’t know the guy,” he added.
Moeen also went onto add that the England series would be a big tournament for him and he will look to improve his game.
When he crosses the line he just wants to win. But it’s winning with control, not win at all costs. They will see his passion for the game. It is unbelievable.
“And the fact he’s coming in a day and age when people are trying to play as much T20 as they can, that sums him up – he’s just dedicated to improvement. The England series is big for him personally and he’s giving himself the best chance to succeed,” added Moeen.