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Ailing Kohli to cut short English county stint


New Delhi – India
captain Virat Kohli on Thursday pulled out of a month long stint with
English county Surrey because of a neck injury and is now in a race to
be ready for his country’s tour of England.

The key 29-year-old
batsman will undergo rehabilitation that will decide when he joins
India’s games in England starting in July, the Board of Control for
Cricket in India said in a statement.

Kohli, who has one of the
most intensive playing schedules in cricket and is one of the world’s
top paid athletes, was to play for Surrey in the English county
championship in June to prepare for the tour.

Kohli suffered the
injury while fielding for his Indian Premier League side Royal
Challengers Bangalore in their match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on May
17, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary said.

“Mr Kohli, who was scheduled to play for Surrey CCC in the month of June, has been ruled out from participating.

“This decision was taken following assessments by the BCCI medical team, subsequent scans, and a specialist visit.

“The Team India captain will now undergo a period of rehabilitation under the supervision of the BCCI medical team.”

The board said that after restarting training Kohli will “undergo a fitness test” in Bangalore from June 15.

“The
BCCI medical team is confident that Mr Kohli will regain full fitness
ahead of India’s upcoming tours to Ireland and England.”

Indian
media reports said Kohli went to a Mumbai hospital on Wednesday. The
Mumbai Mirror said Kohli saw an orthopaedic surgeon who told him there
was damage to spinal nerves and that he may miss part of the England
tour if the injury worsened.

Kohli missed a one-day international during a recent tour of South Africa because of a strained neck.

BCCI officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kohli was also suffering from “fatigue” however.

On
top of his workload, Kohli in January married Bollywood actress Anushka
Sharma in a celebrity wedding that put him at the centre of attention
in India.

In the past year, Kohli has appeared in nine Tests and
29 of India’s 32 one-day internationals, and nine of their T20s. He also
played in 14 IPL matches in Bangalore’s disappointing campaign.

Kohli
did not make any comment about the injury, but the withdrawal
announcement came on the day he apologised to fans for Bangalore’s
failure to reach the Indian Premier League playoffs.

The team
finished third from bottom in the eight team league round after losing
eight of their 14 matches. The batting was heavily reliant on Kohli and
South African great AB de Villiers, who on Wednesday announced his
retirement from international cricket.

“We could not pull our way and we are not very proud of how the season went for us,” Kohli said in a video on his social media.

The
captain, who criticised his bowlers and fielders several times during
the season, added that he was “deeply hurt by how we played… deeply
sorry for not living up to the expectations of the fans.”

“Having
said that, it is all a part of life and you cannot always get what you
want. It’s up to the players to understand what to do about this the
next season, really want to turn things around next season,” he
declared.

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