Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s plan of a Surrey stint ahead of the five-Test series against England has been dealt with a massive blow as a neck injury sustained during an IPL match against Sunrisers Hyderabad has ruled him out of the County commitments, a BCCI media release confirmed on Thursday (May 24). The communication also ended speculations of the Indian skipper having suffered a herniated disc that may have been a result of excessive workload over the past 12 months.
The 29-year-old picked up the injury while fielding in the game played at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on May 17. The BCCI medical team assessed the Indian captain and following subsequent scans and a special visit, advised him to undergo a period of rehabilitation under the supervision of the same team. While Kohli had been looking forward to his County stint with much excitement, the news of the injury comes across as a downer.
“He will begin training and subsequently undergo a fitness test at the NCA in Bengaluru from June 15. The BCCI Medical Team is confident that Kohli will regain full fitness ahead of India’s upcoming tours to Ireland and England,” the release further stated.
Kohli has played all the nine Tests that India featured since June 2017. He also took part in 29 of the 32 One-Day Internationals and nine of the 18 T20Is played in the last 12 months, overall featuring in 47 of the 59 international games that India partook in. In addition, he played the entire season of the Indian Premier League, skippering the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 11th edition in an unsuccessful campaign for the franchise where they finished sixth.
Kohli was already skipping Afghanistan’s maiden Test after having committed to Surrey for the month of June for at least six matches. Having struggled on his last tour to England, during which he scored only 134 runs, averaging a meek 13.4, the County stint would have served as the perfect platform to acclimatise to the foreign conditions. On signing the dotted line last month, Kohli said: “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.”
Kohli’s workload has come under the scanner in the past as well when the Indian captain had cited concerns earlier this year and the selection committee had duly recognised the same by resting him for the tri-nation Nidahas Trophy played in March in Sri Lanka. He had then mentioned, “Physically, I had a few niggles, I am just getting over those. The workload has started to disagree (taking a toll) with me a little bit. I have to be very careful about how I go forward with my body, my mind, my cricket.”
He had also noted that the timely break would help him prepare for the challenges ahead. “Times like these are important going ahead. I am enjoying it. I do not think I am missing out on anything, because my body really needed this. I have started to listen to my body.”
India have a packed cricketing season ahead, starting with the one-off Test against Afghanistan in June. That will be followed by a two-match T20I series against Ireland in Ireland, before a two-month tour of England where they will play three T20Is, three ODIs and five Tests.