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Bob Willis opposes Surrey signing Virat Kohli ahead of England-India series
IBTimes | 25th Mar, 2018 03:31 PM

Former England bowler Bob Willis has opposed Virat Kohli's plans to play in the County Championship ahead of India's tour to England later this year.

Reports on March 24 suggested that a deal to take Kohli to Surrey had already been agreed, with the India captain potentially playing three First Division fixtures for the county side in June.

India play three Twenty20 internationals and three one-day games against England in July, followed by a five-match Test series that starts in August.

India lost their last five-match Test series in England by a 3-1 margin in 2014, with Kohli averaging just 13.40 with the bat as he struggled in seaming and swinging conditions.

Willis argued that signing big overseas stars such as Kohli would hold back young, upcoming English cricketers and added that it was "nonsense" that county teams could potentially allow an overseas player to play himself into form before a series against England.

"I can't stand overseas players in county cricket," the former England cricketer .

"It doesn't benefit the players stranded in the second XI year on year and the youngsters. The only way to improve our Test team is to have as many England-qualified players playing in the County Championship as possible.

"Instead, they're going to pay Kohli, presumably, five figures a match so he can hone his skills in English conditions before a Test series. It's a nonsense.

"He should be made to suffer and average 30 in England as he has done before. We don't want England starting to lose Test matches at home because we're accommodating all of these visiting players."

Reports have suggested that Kohli could miss India's one-off Test against Afghanistan in Bangalore on June 20 and a Twenty20 series against Ireland to play county cricket.

Surrey's director of cricket, Alec Stewart, admitted that he was interested in signing Kohli for the county side.

"I did inquire a while back about Kohli when it appeared to be a possible option for him to play county cricket but was told by the BCCI that India were playing Ireland in T20s and an inaugural Test v Afghanistan in June," Stewart .

"If he does now become available we would look at it again to see if it could potentially work around our current overseas arrangements."

 
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