Indian captain Virat Kohli has officially signed a deal with English county side Surrey for the month of June ahead of India’s tour of England, the club announced on Thursday.
The star batsman, who will join the team after the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), will feature in three county championship matches and at least three One-Day Cup games. The county club made the announcement on their official website.
“Surrey County Cricket Club are delighted to announce the signing of India captain Virat Kohli for the month of June,” the website said.
The 29-year-old will become the fifth Indian player to play county in England alongside his fellow teammates—Cheteshwar Pujara, Varun Aaron, Axar Patel and Ishant Sharma—who have inked deals with Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Durham and Sussex respectively.
The move to play county cricket comes after a poor show by the team during their South African tour, where they failed to quickly adapt to the conditions resulting in the loss of series 2-1.
“It has long been an ambition of mine to play county cricket and I am thankful to Alec Stewart and Surrey for allowing me the opportunity to join them during their 2018 season. I can’t wait to get to the Kia Oval,” said the Indian skipper after signing the contract.
Considered as cricket’s top all-format batsman with an average of over 50 in all formats, Kohli will captain the Indian side in the upcoming Test series in England, starting from 1 August. With this, the right-handed batsman will miss one-off Test match against Afghanistan in Bengaluru on 14 June.
Surrey’s Director of Cricket Alec Stewart said, “ We are thrilled to have signed the biggest name in world cricket for the month of June. Playing and training alongside Virat will be a massive benefit for our players who will have the opportunity to learn so much from him.”
“At a time when there is much discussion around the future of county cricket, the arrival of Virat should give our domestic game a massive boost and positive exposure around the cricketing world which in turn can benefit every county,” the former England captain said.
Since his Test debut in 2011, Kohli has scored 5554 runs at a staggering average of 53.40. His ODI stastistics read 9588 runs where he has averaged 58.10 per innings.
However, in his last Test series in England, the middle-order batsman had averaged 13.40 while his ODI average was 32, far less than his overall tally of 58.
Meanwhile, wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik and all rounder Hardik Pandya will play for the World XI and one Twenty 20 against West Indies at Lord’s on 31 May. The match is being held to raise funds for stadiums damaged by hurricane in the Caribbean.