India captain Virat Kohli has been named as the International Player of the Year 2017-18 by popular England-based cricket fan club Barmy Army. Kohli was presented with the trophy at the conclusion of the first day's play of India's tour match against Essex on Wednesday. "The @TheBarmyArmy presents #TeamIndia Captain @imVkohli with the International Player of the Year for years 2017 and 2018," the BCCI tweeted.
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Wicketkeeper batsmen Dinesh Karthik's unbeaten 82 run knock along with useful contributions from Kohli and KL Rahul helped India post 322/6 on the opening day of the three-day warm-up game against Essex at County Ground.
After a shaky start, losing three wickets for 44 runs, skipper Kohli (68), Rahul (58) and Karthik, who will keep wickets for India in the Tests in the absence of Wriddhiman Saha, took India out of troubled waters. Opener Murali Vijay (53) also contributed handsomely.
Kohli, who had struggled all through the previous Test tour of England in 2014, was instrumental in reviving the Indian innings after the visiting side were reduced to 5/2 in the third over and 44/3 in the 19th over.
Kohli came out at number five at the fall of Ajinkya Rajhne (17 off 47 balls) and along with Vijay resurrected the Indian innings with a 93-ball 68 which was studded with 12 fours. The 90 runs he shared with Vijay four the fourth laid the foundation for the likes of Karthik and Rahul to flourish down the order as India batted for 84 overs.
The tour match was reduced to a three-day affair from a four-day game after India raised concerns about the hot weather.
India coach Ravi Shastri said that India shortened their only warm-up match ahead of the Test series against England so as to have an extra day of practice at Edgbaston, the venue of the first Test.
Originally planned from 25 to 28 July, the match against Essex in Chelmsford is now being played over three days, as Shastri believes familiarising themselves with the conditions at the venue of the first Test is "more important".
India are likely to reach Edgbaston a day in advance, on Sunday, 29 July, and will have three days of practice before the Test commences on 1 August.