Virat Kohli © AFP
Virat Kohli © AFP

‘Playing county cricket will help improve my game in England,’ Virat Kohli had told NDTV few days ago. CoA , too, want the Indian players to get accustomed to the England conditions ahead of the main tour in August. However, BCCI are unhappy with Kohli’s absence from the only Afghanistan Test which will go underway from June 14 in Bengaluru.

In fact, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB)’s CEO, Shafiq Stanikzai had also expressed their eagerness of playing against a global sports icon like Kohli: “We lived this dream to play this first Test against India in India. That moment has come true. Virat is a world cricket icon, something our players will miss the exposure playing against.”

Key players to miss Afghanistan Test?

CoA had promised Afghanistan a strong side would be up against them. However, the key players would be not present during for the Test.

Ravichandran Ashwin is expected to join Worcestershire post VIVO IPL 2018. Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay and few others would be part of Rahul Dravid’s India A squad, scheduled to play some first-class fixtures in England. Meanwhile, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma are playing for Yorkshire and Sussex respectively.

On Kohli and key players missing the Afghanistan Test, BCCI expressed their views: “If a decision has been taken to allow the India captain to miss an international game and play County cricket at that point of time, it would set a very bad precedent. It would give a very bad message to the visiting Afghanistan team; that maybe the opponents aren’t worthy for us. It would be disrespectful to the Afghanistan team and also, it would be unfair on the broadcaster,” a BCCI official told the Indian Express. 

BCCI officials believe, Kohli should also seek permission to miss IPL games in case he would be leaving for county cricket earlier: “(Even if) he is playing in England at that time, he can come back for one Test and then fly back. And if he is so keen to play County cricket, has he sought permission to miss his IPL games?”

From CoA’s perspective: 

CoA, on the other hand, have not received any communication yet from the BCCI officials, with regard to requesting Kohli about making himself available for the Afghanistan Test. Seems like Kohli’s county stint has devided the board into two.