Virat Kohli likely to pick India T20Is over Surrey game


 
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Virat Kohli is jubilant upon sealing the maiden bilateral ODI series win in South Africa © BCCI

Virat Kohli is likely to choose the two-T20I series in Ireland over his third county match for Surrey, after the India selectors named him the captain for the games even though the dates clash with his Surrey stint.

Surrey had announced Kohli would play for them for the whole of June – India’s T20Is in Ireland are on June 27 and 29 and Surrey’s match against Yorkshire is from June 25 to 28. The BCCI, however, said there was no commitment from Kohli to play all three games for Surrey.

It is understood that BCCI officials are in talks with concerned authorities in England to resolve the issue amicably. It might not be that difficult to convince Surrey because they are already believed to be under fire from former England players for providing Kohli match-practice ahead of India’s tour of England in July.

The understanding in the BCCI is that if Kohli gets enough opportunity in his first two Surrey games, the priority for him will be the two T20Is in Ireland. Should weather or other factors deny him adequate time to bat in the first two matches, Kohli might stay back and play in Scarborough. Surrey, however, are of the view that Kohli will miss the first T20I against Ireland, play in Scarborough, and then make it for India’s second T20I the next day.

India are understood to be flexible with their preparation plans for the Test series. An India A tour of England has been organised in June before the Tests, and though no Test players were named in the A squad, the option remains open to them – even for Kohli – should they want more time to acclimatise. India’s chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said they had a discussion with the team management and India A coach Rahul Dravid.

“Some of the Test specialists like [Wriddhiman] Saha, [Murali] Vijay, [Mohammed] Shami will play the third India A Test against West Indies A before playing the warm-up game against Essex and then the England Tests,” Prasad said.

ESPNcricinfo, however, understands, that this plan is not limited to just the three players. Some of the all-formats players could hop over to the unofficial Test against England Lions, scheduled from July 16 to 19 in Worcester. That match might also be rescheduled because it clashes with the third ODI against England.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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