India skipper Virat Kohli was officially signed by Surrey for the 2018 English county season last week. Kohli will be available to play all the matches for Surrey throughout the month of June, which will see him missing out on Afghanistan’s first ever Test match against India in Bengaluru from June 14.
Ever since the news broke out on Thursday (May 3), cricket fans and experts started giving their opinions on this huge signing by Surrey. While the majority of people are lauding Kohli for his desire to improve on alien English conditions, there are folks who have a different take on this matter.
Speaking at an interactive session with cricket historian Boria Majumdar in Kolkata on Wednesday (May 9), former Australia captain Michael Clarke said that Virat’s decision to skip Afghanistan Test for county stint has surprised him.
Clarke feels Test matches should be the first priority for any elite cricketer irrespective of the country they are playing against.
“I am really surprised. I think a Test match is a Test match and I don’t care who you are playing against; it needs to be number one priority,” Clarke quoted.
“I still feel Virat can get what he wants in terms of coming and playing some games for Surrey and then I would like to see him fly back and play the Test match.
“I think there is a bit of a gap in the schedule which will allow him to do that… I have given up every other opportunity to play for whatever franchise or other teams. To represent your country is the most special thing in the world. Whatever team you play against, I think that should be the No 1 priority,” he added.
Clarke, however, was on the same page with Virat when it comes to preparing in advance for the all-important England tour.
“It will be fantastic preparation for him and also shows his determination. It shows not only how hungry he is to perform individually but how much he wants India to have success. Virat’s played enough cricket; he doesn’t need to do that (prepare by going earlier to England). The fact that he is doing that, he deserves a lot of credit for that,” the 2015 World Cup winning skipper remarked.
During the interactive session, Clarke was also asked about India’s refusal to feature in the Pink-Ball Test in Australia later this year.
“India feel like they know the conditions that will suit them best to beat Australia. Remember, India has never beaten Australia ever in Australia. This is their chance. That is exactly what Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri and all of India will be thinking…. If we play during the day, the wicket is flatter, they spin a little bit more. At night there is no spin, there is moisture and bit more movement. So, we prefer to take our chances during the day like we have played every other Test match throughout our careers,” Michael Clarke concluded.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)