Former England skipper David Gower has hailed Virat Kohli’s decision to play county cricket before the all-important England tour later this year. Kohli was officially signed by Surrey on May 3 for the 2018 English county season.
In an exclusive interview with Mumbai Mirror, Gower stated that Kohli’s eagerness to feature in the county championship proves how much he respects Test cricket.
“It is a very good thing for him. It’s a very good thing for Surrey too. It is a coup by them. They will be delighted to have him – both as a player and someone they can learn from,” Gower quoted.
“Virat is one of the great players in the world at this moment. We know that his last tour here (in 2014) was disappointing. So, I know he has a list of things on his agenda. He wants to prove that he can make as many runs in England as he does elsewhere,” he added.
Kohli's county stint for Surrey will commence on June 1 with a one day game against Kent at Beckenham. He will be playing the second and third match of the Royal London Cup on June 3 and 6 against Middlesex and Glamorgan respectively.
The four-day campaign will start against Hampshire in Southampton on June 9 to 12 followed by a match against Somerset (at Guildford from June 20-23) and concluding with Yorkshire game at Scarborough (June 25 to 28).
On the other hand, India’s tour of England tour will kick off from July 3, with the first Test scheduled to start on August 1.
“Playing in England in August, the conditions will be more favourable (to Kohli). Being the captain, he wants to get a good result too. Personally, for people like me, it is good to see him approach this whole tour from the point of view of giving himself and his team the best chance of success in all formats. By coming here, he is making the world aware how much he respects Test cricket,” Gower opined.
Even though Virat has conquered more or less every condition with his willow in Test cricket, he has not been able to perform at his best on England soil. With just 134 runs in five Test matches at a dismal average of 13.40, doing well in England is a top priority for the Indian captain.
Gower, who has represented England in 117 Tests and 114 ODIs, expects Kohli to better his Test record in England this time around.
“Anyone who has watched cricket in the last five years knows how good he is. He has got extraordinary talent in all forms of the game. We’ve our special moments and our weaknesses. This is his big chance to make amends for the disappointment of last time,” David Gower concluded.