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Virat Kohli Finds Support from Gary Kirsten for Picking Surrey Deal Over Afghanistan Test

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: May 9, 2018, 3:13 PM IST
Virat Kohli Finds Support from Gary Kirsten for Picking Surrey Deal Over Afghanistan Test

Virat Kohli and Gary Kirsten (AFP)

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Cricket fans in India have had mixed views on India skipper Virat Kohli’s decision to skip the upcoming one-off Test against Afghanistan and to play county cricket for Surrey to prepare for the Test series in England, but former India coach Gary Kirsten has called it a smart move going into what is expected to be Kohli’s biggest challenge after his failure in India’s last tour of England. James Anderson almost had his name on every ball and Kohli had a tough time on the field.

“Strategically he has done a good thing to sign a contract with Surrey for a month. To get acclimatized to the conditions, I think that is very smart. But he has three years more experience now from the last tour. I thought the Indian team, although they didn’t win the series in South Africa they had a very strong series.

“If you take the whole tour they won the ODIs easy. England will be a different kettle of fish at home and they will swing the ball. Anderson and Stuart Broad will be very effective in England. If they can overcome that then potentially they will have a good series,” Kirsten told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary urged critics to understand Kohli's intent of doing well in England Tests rather than taking a dig at him for not playing the landmark one-off Test against Afghanistan.

Kohli will be playing for Surrey during the month of June and will miss the historic occasion as India plays host to the war-ravaged nation.

"There was no intention (on Virat's part) of not to play (against Afghanistan). It is only because of the English challenge which we have to rise through to the satisfaction of the entire cricket fraternity in this country and Virat wants to sustain for the right reasons," Choudhary told the mediapersons.

The acting secretary reiterated that the reason behind sending a few Test specialists early is to allow them to acclimatise properly before the Test series.

"We have taken this decision to allow Virat as well as some others to give them a fair opportunity of acclimatising themselves in England. Basically, it is not for the shorter format but the longer one.

"Our focus remains Test cricket and we continue to believe that this is one format which is normally the genesis of cricket in the world and it is something we need to nurse all time," he added.

When asked why some of the openers were not sent for county stints, selection committee chief MSK Prasad made it clear that it was only Virat, who got an offer unlike others. "He (Virat) only got the opportunity. I don't know whether rest of the team really got it, but we would have been more than happy had they got a chance," he said.
First Published: May 9, 2018, 3:07 PM IST
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