Virat Kohli’s decision to skip India’s one-off Test against Afghanistan for his maiden county stint with Surrey has created a lot of hue and cry in the cricket fraternity. While the majority of fans and experts are lauding Kohli for his desire to improve on alien English conditions, there are people who have a different take on this matter.
Amidst Virat’s headline-grabbing deal with Surrey, former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar has questioned the BCCI's very logic of hosting Afghanistan in a Test match ahead of the all-important England tour.
"To be honest with you, I feel that the Afghanistan Test is wrongly scheduled because they (the BCCI) should've concentrated more on the England tour. (I know that) The Indian A team is going (to England). Of course, there is an FTP, there is a Test programme, and you've to adhere to it. But then, this is a Test match. You can't take it lightly. This is Afghanistan's first match, and they must be very keen to establish themselves at the international level," Vengsarkar quoted as saying by Times of India.
While India will take on Afghanistan in a lone Test match from June 14-18 at Bangalore, the England tour will kick off from July 3, with the first Test scheduled to start on August 1.
On the other hand, Kohli's county stint for Surrey will start 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).
When asked about the Indian captain’s decision to skip the Afghanistan Test, Vengsarkar said: "It's a good decision. He will get time to acclimatise to the conditions. The last tour wasn't very good for him. So it (the county stint) is very critical for him. So he's very keen to there early, which is a good thing."
"If I was a selector, I would've asked (Cheteshwar) Pujara also to stay back and play county cricket because these are the guys who're going to play in England. Playing in India against Afghanistan, for the time, makes no sense. Pujara's coming back from England to play Afghanistan defies logic to me, because he was playing in county cricket, where, at the moment, he isn't very consistent. So, he would've got more chances to play in England, scored runs and got into the groove," he further added.
The Mumbai batting great also termed Virat Kohli as the best batsman in the world and expects the Delhi lad to better his Test record in England this time around.
"I think he's the best batsman in the world at the moment. In the last four years, he's established himself as a No 1 batsman in the world. So we expect a lot of things from, him. Of course, the England your will be 'the tour' for him. I'm sure he'll do well," he remarked.
Vengsarkar is satisfied with the scheduling of England tour, which begins with the limited-overs cricket before the Tests.
"See, if you see the itinerary of the previous tours, I think this is a good itinerary, because you've got enough games to play before the first Test. So, the players get time to acclimatise to the conditions. So, it's a good thing. If you see the last tour against South Africa, you hardly got any match in the lead-up to the first Test. So, the England tour is nicely scheduled," he concluded.