The Director of Cricket at Surrey, Alec Stewart, has shared his views on Virat Kohli’s decision to skip county stint, saying that how much has the rest helped the Indian captain will only be determined after the end of the Tests series against England.
Kohli’s much-awaited county stint with Surrey came to a halt in May after he suffered a neck sprain and was subsequently advised by BCCI’s medical team to take rest. Apparently, Virat had picked up the neck injury during Royal Challengers Bangalore’s last league match against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018.
"Virat has played only a limited number of (Test) matches in England and his record is nowhere near the high quality he has achieved everywhere else around the world. So only he can answer (if rest helped him more) and we will know at the end of this series," Stewart told PTI.
"In my conversation with him (Kohli), we told him that we very much wanted him at Surrey for that month (May), and he told us he wanted to be here. It would have helped Surrey and it would have definitely helped Virat as well. But circumstances around that neck injury meant that he had pull out at the last moment," he added.
While Kohli will feature in a four-day game against Essex before the first Test, Stewart feels that playing limited-overs matches will be of some help.
"(But) He has had the white-ball internationals to get ready for the Test series. When you have the quality of Virat, you adjust accordingly and I expect him to have a big impact on the Test series. His record here cannot get worse, it can only improve and world-class players find a way of succeeding in tough conditions," he remarked.
On a lighter note, Stewart also said that he is lucky that he doesn't have to buy a ticket to watch Virat bat.
"As much as people will be scrutinising his record leading into this Test series, I expect him to succeed. I am lucky enough come watch cricket and not buy a ticket. But I would gladly pay to watch Virat bat," Stewart stated.
He also believes that India will perform better this time around as the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma have played county in the past two seasons.
"The likes of Pujara, Ashwin and Ishant have played in England before but to play more recently in the county circuit, in preparation for the Test series, it can only get better for India. The more you get used to conditions and different playing environments, the better it is going to be as an international cricketer. So, it will definitely help India that important members of their Test side have played here," Alec Stewart concluded.
The highly-anticipated Test series between India and England will commence on August 1 at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Lord’s (Aug 09-Aug 13) will host the second Test while Trent Bridge (Aug 18-Aug 22), Rose Bowl (Aug 30-Sep 03) and The Oval (Sep 07-Sep 11) will stage the third, fourth and fifth Test respectively.