Dubai: Former England captain David Gower, one of the most graceful southpaws of the game, feels that Virat Kohli’s decision to play for Surrey ahead of the forthcoming India’s tour to England is a good one. Kohli is under some criticism in India for skipping the Afghanistan Test match and signing up for Surrey, while the English County club have also been torn apart by a few England stalwarts for giving him the opportunity to acclimatise with English conditions.
Speaking to Gulf News by telephone from London, Gower said: “Virat [Kohli] coming to Surrey to play some cricket ahead of the series, which I think is a very good idea on his part. I also think it is a very good idea for Surrey, though some of the diehards say they shouldn’t be allowing him to get practice ahead of such an important series. I don’t think it makes that much difference because everyone understands these new ways. Virat’s decision is interesting because the last time he was here he did not have a good tour and everyone knows what an extraordinary good player he is now. Today he is one of the top three players and a brilliant player. So I am sure for him there is a personal mission, which to him is to get the runs that he thinks he should be making and to lead his side to a very important overseas win in England.”
When asked who is the most attractive batsman in world cricket today, Gower said: “When you watch Virat, Kane Willamson and Joe Root then you see certain poetry. The disgraced Steve Smith, in terms of run making is very effective. But I don’t like watching him ecstatically. He is not beautiful to watch, but is an extraordinary player. Virat, Willamson and Root — I would pay to watch.”
Gower feels that like Kohli, who is getting set to play in Surrey, many England players are currently benefiting by playing in the Indian Premier League. “It is a very different form of cricket. For England players to do well in IPL is more psychological. It builds huge amount of confidence in them to play under pressure as the guys playing in India at the moment with full houses, big crowds, huge noise and huge interest are extraordinary things for every player.”
To a query on how big a blow was the ball-tampering incident and the lesson players should learn from it, he said: “Marylebone Cricket Club (custodian of Laws of Cricket) has pointed out the importance of playing the game in the spirit of cricket. Now ball-tampering and sledging are understandings that will all take place in some shape or form. What the Australians got horribly wrong was being so naive and blatant about it and got caught so easily.
“I think it was more the attitude they showed once they have been caught than the actual thing. The ball itself did not seem to be affected much, otherwise, the umpire would have seen it. So they knew the act of tampering was wrong and the method was ridiculously wrong. This they discovered when they were caught red-handed or yellow handed.”