India captain Virat Kohli’s eagerly-anticipated stint with Surrey will not go ahead due to a neck injury.
Kohli, cricket’s biggest global star, was due to play for the Brown Caps throughout the month of June in what would have been his first overseas contract.
But, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has announced he is no longer available after suffering the neck problem in an Indian Premier League match last week.
Kohli’s arrival at the Kia Oval was set to create a flurry of interest in the domestic game – and doubtless generate considerable revenue for Surrey – as well as helping the 29-year-old prepare for India’s tour of England later this summer.
He is still expected to be fit for that, as well as two Twenty20s in Ireland on June 27 and 29.
A BCCI statement read: “Team India Captain Mr Virat Kohli suffered a neck injury while fielding during Match 51 of the VIVO IPL between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad on 17th May 2018 at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.
“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.
"He will begin training and subsequently undergo a fitness test at the NCA in Bengaluru from June 15.”
Less than 24 hours before the announcement, Kohli tweeted a video of himself working out in a gym in response to Indian politician Rajyavardhan Rathore.
Surrey fans may note a certain irony in the attendant hashtags #fitnesschallenge and #comeoutandplay, though a four-week tour of county cricket provides entirely different physical challenges to the 39-second clip.
Surrey’s director of cricket Alec Stewart, said: “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.”