Surrey deal: No fat contract, only nominal wages for Kohli

Kohli will not play the one-off Test against Afghanistan and the two T20 Internationals against Ireland (all in June).

Virat Kohli is keen to redeem himself in the Old Blighty, in pursuit of greatness. (File Photo)   -  Twitter @englandcricket

He might be the top-earning cricketer in the world today, but English county side Surrey has got Virat Kohli for a dirt cheap deal as the BCCI was keen to ensure quality game time for the India captain ahead of the tour of England.

Kohli, who will not play the one-off Test against Afghanistan and the two T20 Internationals against Ireland (all in June), is keen to redeem himself in Old Blighty, in pursuit of greatness.

With the BCCI wanting its top players to get county exposure, the deal with Surrey was finally inked only as late as this week.

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“Contrary to popular belief that Virat will cost a bomb for Surrey, it was completely the other way round. Let’s get it clear. Surrey is paying airfare, accommodation and a very nominal match fee during the month,” a senior BCCI office-bearer, privy to the deal, said on conditions of anonymity.

“Since the Board and Virat himself were very keen, the monetary part was least of concern for us,” he added.

“We are not at liberty to quote the amount, but it will be a very nominal amount that he will be paid and that is at a par with any standard county player. We can vouch it’s a win-win deal for Surrey as well as for the BCCI,” the official added.

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While the news was out in Indian media in Marc, the BCCI was engaged with Surrey about how much the county can use the Indian captain’s image rights. That was the reason for the delay in putting pen to paper.

“Obviously, Surrey wants to cash in on his image. But then, Virat’s focus will be six games (three Royal London Cup 50 over games and three County four day games).

“There will be a curiosity and the marketing opportunities, but we don’t want our captain to be unduly disturbed by peripheral activities. He is going there to prepare for the England series and if he scores runs, it helps Surrey,” the office bearer said.

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It must be mentioned that the RCB paid a whopping Rs 18 crore (1.95 million pounds) for Kohli’s retention in 2018.

Kohli’s stint with Surrey starts on June 1 with a one day game against Kent at Beckenham. He will be playing the second and third match of the Royal London Cup on June 3 and 6 against Middlesex and Glamorgan, respectively.

The four-day campaign will start against Hampshire in Southampton from June 9 to 12, followed by a match against Somerset (at Guildford, June 20-23) and concluding witha game against Yorkshire game at Scarborough (June 25 to 28).

Recently-retired South African pacer Morne Morkel will be Kohli's teammate at Surrey. Kohli’s debut four-day match could prove to be a challenge if Dale Steyn, who has signed for Hampshire, gets fit by that time.

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Former South African swing bowler Kyle Abbott, who had a five-wicket haul against India in the Delhi Test in 2015, is expected to be there apart from Fidel Edwards.

Against Yorkshire, the likes of Tim Bresnan and Liam Plunkett (playing for Delhi Daredevils) will pose him a few questions.

Cheteshwar Pujara is expected to play against Kohli in the Yorkshire game as he will be back in the UK after playing the Test match against Afghanistan.