Virat Kohli sent ripples in the English county scene when he signed up with Surrey for a stint in the county cricket before India’s tour to England in July.
Alec Stewart, Surrey’s Director of Cricket welcomed Virat Kohli into the team, where he will play both List A games and First-Class games. England all-rounder and RCB teammate Moeen Ali also said that some assumptions will come crashing down, when "proper big dog" Virat Kohli joins the side.
Virat Kohli will join fellow international stars in the line-up, headlined by South Africa's Morne Morkel, Tom Curran, Dean Elgar and Australia's Mitchell Marsh and Aaron Finch.
"I know a few of the Surrey guys and they are not what people make them out to be a lot of the time. But if anyone in that dressing room does think they are a big dog, they will need to sit down for a little while because there is a proper big dog coming," Moeen was quoted as saying by 'The Guardian'.
"You see him on the field and people might think he's arrogant but it is the complete opposite. He's so humble it is almost weird how nice he is. He's the biggest name in India but will ring me to check I'm OK or ask if I fancy lunch. Sometimes a player will invite the squad to their house for a meal and it would be easy for him to say no. But he would always go. I can say with certainty that anyone who has a bad word doesn't know the guy," he said.
Ali’s England teammate, Chris Woakes mirrored his sentiments and said, "You have your perceptions of someone like Virat, who is quite passionate, emotional, in your face and plays it hard. But off the field, he's very calm and you can chat about anything. He's very down to earth and for someone who has such huge pressures and public focus in India, to see him go about his business in this way quite refreshing."
"In my first year of IPL, I found as an overseas player you get a lot of attention walking through airports in India. But having him in the team - the No 1, the king - we're almost irrelevant. It makes you realize what his life is like. So county cricket will be much more chilled and he'll enjoy that. Playing at smaller grounds, which will be an experience too. Having spoken to him about it, he loves touring other countries - it's a release,” said Woakes.
Woakes also shed light on Kohli’s pre-match preparations.
Woakes revealed, "Around 30 minutes before the bus leaves for a match, he does what he calls a 'priming session' in the gym. It's like a short burst of Olympic weightlifting. It's certainly different but it works for him. Overall, his fitness work is having a serious impact on the next generation of Indian players. He's leaner, fitter and agiler than those before."