On 3rd of May, it was confirmed that Indian Cricket Team captain and arguably the best batsmen in the world currently, Virat Kohli has signed by Surrey County Cricket Club. The star cricketer will miss the inaugural Afghanistan ‘one off’ Test match as he has committed himself to county cricket with a view to prepare himself for the upcoming Tour of England. This will give him an opportunity to improve his batting skills in bowler friendly conditions of England.
Kohli signing up with the Surrey and playing county cricket in the month of June has created lot of buzz in the cricket world. We take a look back and bring you the top Indian batsmen who have played County over the last 40 years.
1. Sunil Gavaskar
Playing for an English County team is not new; back in 1980 the Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar played a season for Somerset. He finished the season with 686 run from 15 first-class matches at an average of 34.29. In 16 one day matches which he played for Somerset, Gavaskar scored fifties while playing against Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire, 90 runs against Kent and 123 runs against Middlesex. He managed to score two crucial knocks of 138 against Surrey at the Oval and 75 versus Gloucestershire however overall struggled during an unusual wet England Summer.
2. Sachin Tendulkar
One of the best cricketers in the world, Sachin Tendulkar too has had his stint in county cricket. When he was 16 years old he made his debut in the Indian Test team and three years later a 19 year old Sachin Tendulkar debuted in county cricket for Yorkshire. He created history and became the first overseas cricketer to play for the Yorkshire club. In 16 county championship matches, Tendulkar scored more than 1070 runs at an average of 46.52. This included 7 fifties and a century against Durham.
3. Rahul Dravid
Popularly known as The Wall, Dravid played for Kent in the year 2000 where he scored 1221 runs in 16 first class matches at an average of 55.50 which also included two centuries. In the 50 over National League he managed to score 437 runs at an average of 43.70 with 2 fifties. John Wright was the coach of Kent at that time and it was during this time that he was very impressed with Dravid’s batting.
Rahul Dravid returned to County cricket after three seasons and this time it was with Scotland. He scored 600 national league runs consisting of 3 hundreds and 2 fifties at an average of 66.66.
4. Sourav Ganguly
Another Indian batman to have played County cricket is the Bengal tiger, Sourav Ganguly. He played County cricket in the year 2000, 2005 and 2006. During his first year in 2000 he scored 671 runs at an average of 31.95 in the four-day game format. In 2005 he was signed by Glamorgan where he scored a hundred and 3 fifties in 9 first-class innings.
Ganguly returned in the next season with Northamptonshire as a replacement for Chris Rogers. This was on a short term contract and he managed to score 80 runs in a couple of 50 overs game and 220 runs in the 9 T20s.
5. Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag‘s county career was for a very short term. The one and only spell in English domestic cricket was in 2003 post World Cup in South Africa. He was signed by Leicestershire but he had a short term due to a back injury. In the 10 four-day games he played he scored 478 runs at an average of 47.80 which included 2 centuries and a half century.
6. Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh became the second Indian to sign Yorkshire in 2003 after Sachin Tendulkar in 1992. The all-rounder chooses to play County in order to enhance his game in the bowler friendly conditions and keeping in mind the upcoming international tours. Yuvraj struggled to make his mark; his average was only 14.55 in the 12 first-class matches and 21.12 in 8 National league matches. However he performed well in the Twenty-20 competition where he scored 154 runs at an average of 30.80 with one fifty.
7. Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara is often tagged as a Test player. He is one of the main stays of the Indian Cricket team when it comes to test matches. This is the fourth year Pujara will be playing for an English team. In the past he has played in the years 2013, 2015 and 2017. He first played for Derbyshire in 2013 scoring around 219 runs in 6 first-class innings which consists of an unbeaten century and 90 not out.
His initial impressive performance in the English conditions resulted in him becoming the third Indian cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh to play for Yorkshire in 2015. The club won the County Championship and Pujara made a significant contribution scoring 264 runs in 6 innings at an average of 52.80 including a century and a fifty. In 2017, he was signed by Nottinghamshire where he scored 333 runs at an average of 27.75 in 12 innings including a hundred and a half century. Currently, Pujara is back with Yorkshire.