Team India head coach Ravi Shastri has jumped in to defend captain Virat Kohli after he was ruled out of his maiden County stint with Surrey cricket club in London. The 29-year old suffered a neck injury while fielding during an IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad, which has eventually resulted in him missing out on playing for Surrey and Afghanistan's maiden international Test in India.
The BCCI immediately ruled out Kohli's participation once the news broke out and will undergo a period of rehabilitation under the supervision of the BCCI medical team.
On speaking to Mumbai Mirror, Shastri said that Kohli cannot always be fuelled and sent on to play all the time. Kohli has had a strenuous year and has been a part of pretty hectic schedule since he took over the mantle from MS Dhoni as Indian team captain.
“He had to skip the county stint because he is not a top dog,” Shastri was quoted as saying in the Mumbai Mirror.
“He is not a machine but a human being. It is not a case of putting rocket fuel up his backside and getting him on the park. Even a top dog can’t be given rocket fuel up his backside,” the coach added. The top dog comment is in reference to Moeen Ali calling his RCB skipper a potential star at Surrey.
The BCCI stated in a press release that the Indian skipper will undergo training and a fitness test at the NCA in Bengaluru from June 15.
"The BCCI Medical Team is confident that Kohli will regain full fitness ahead of India’s upcoming tours to Ireland and England," the board added.
Kohli's stint at Surrey was being eagerly awaited but the sudden change of plans meant that there is likely to be some loss of revenue for the club. Surrey's Director of Cricket Alec Stewart expressed their disappointment on the matter.
“It’s hugely disappointing that Virat won’t be joining Surrey for the month of June but we understand injuries happen and we have to respect the decision of the BCCI medical team to pull him from his stint with us,” Surrey Director of Cricket, Alec Stewart, said.
India have a long and gruelling tour of England as the Men in Blue play three T20Is, ODIs and five Tests against the Three Lions.