Woakes thrilled to see Kohli in county

Woakes thrilled to see Kohli in county

English cricket will receive a huge dose of star power this season when Indian skipper Virat Kohli makes his County debut in June.

While Test regulars Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma are already slugging it in the United Kingdom, Kohli and R Ashwin will join them after their respective IPL stint to prepare themselves for the arduous five-Test tour of England in August-September. 

While the decision by Kohli to play county was met with praise in various quarters, former England captain Bob Willis called it "nonsense". Stating that he can't stand overseas cricketers playing in County championship, Willis wanted Kohli to "suffer" the same way in the forthcoming Test series as he did when India toured the UK 2013.

Chris Woakes, a member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, however, begged to differ. "My opinion is that if counties are willing to sign Indian players, then so be it. The good thing about county cricket is that we get really good overseas players, which makes county cricket stronger. It is a great experience for young guys to bowl to Kohli. This makes the county experience better and these players will carry that forward when they play international cricket. But hopefully, Kohli doesn’t score too many runs, which would allow him to come into the tour in very good form."

This IPL has also brought a major financial windfall for England cricketers with eight being picked up by franchises during the auctions in January and a few more added as replacements for injured players. Until last year, ECB were coy about releasing their players for IPL as the latter part of the T20 event clashed with their international calendar. However, there appears to be a change in their stance, after players expressed their willingness to compete in IPL.

Woakes felt this could enrich English cricketers. "I think it's brilliant so many guys are playing IPL. For those guys to get the experience of playing in the best T20 tournament in the world is huge. Brilliant on part of ECB to allow us to come and play. It's great franchises are picking us, it shows how long we have come in white-ball cricket. It's also nice to see guys get picked up for large money at the auction."

Woakes, who has played in all four RCB games this season, spoke at length about their death bowling which has been pretty sub-standard. "We've got all sorts of areas we want to improve. The big problem for us is being unable to put in a strong performance with the bat and ball for 40 overs. Death bowling is something we need to improve. Bowling at the death, especially in T20, is not an easy job.

"In T20 you always are gonna go for runs but that's one area we need to work on and we will continue to try and improve. Losing wickets in clusters is also something we are trying to improve. It's not ideal losing two wickets in an over or two or three in a space of two overs."



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