Surrey sign Kohli to play all formats in June



"We are thrilled to have signed the biggest name in world cricket for the month of June", said Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart.

Kohli's participation in county cricket means he will be unavailable for India as they take on Afghanistan in a Test match in June in Bengaluru.

Though the news of Kohli joining Surrey was out earlier in March, the deal was finally inked only late last week. "I can't wait to get to the Kia Oval", Kohli said after the signing was made official, as quoted by the county's official website. He will be available until the club's trip to Scarborough to face Yorkshire.

The 29-year-old will become the fourth Test eligible Indian player in county cricket this year with fellow batsman Cheteshwar Pujara now at Yorkshire and seamers Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron plying their trade at Sussex and Leicestershire respectively.

"Contrary to popular belief that Virat will cost a bomb for Surrey, it was completely the other way round".

"Since the Board and Virat himself was very keen, the monetary part was of least concern for us", he added.

A senior BCCI official said there was nothing wrong in aiming for win.

Even as a few fans are unhappy over letting Virat Kohli get assimilated to the English conditions ahead of India's tour of England in the upcoming summer, former cricketers and experts have lauded the India captain for his willingness to prioritise the longest format of the game at a time when T20 globetrotting seems to be the norm.

"Obviously, Surrey wants to cash in on his image".

The India captain is set to feature in both the Royal London One Day Cup and the County Championship next month.

"There will be curiosity and marketing opportunities but we don't want our captain to be unduly disturbed by peripheral activities".

The BCCI has also allowed Cheteshwar Pujara (Yorkshire), Ishant Sharma (Sussex) and Varun Aaron (Leicestershire) to sign as overseas players in England this year. He will then play the second and third match of the Royal London Cup June 3 and 6 against Middlesex and Glamorgan respectively.

With Kohli confirmed to be absent now, Ajinkya Rahane, the Test vice-captain, is likely to lead India against Afghanistan.

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