Kapil Dev has urged India captain Virat Kohli to spend time in the Specsavers County Championship before his country’s Test series with England this summer.
The five-match series between the two countries begins in August and India will be hoping for better fortunes on English soil having won just three Tests since 1986.
During their last series in 2014, Kohli, currently the second best five-day batsman in the ICC rankings, failed to register a half century or a ton and averaged a paltry 13.40, way below his current average of 53.40.
The advice from one of Kohli’s predecessors as India captain is that a stint on the county circuit may be beneficial in adapting to English conditions.
“If he can get it and if he can keep on playing there, I think it always helps,” said Dev, who was speaking in his role as an ambassador for Laureus.
“Practice makes a man perfect; one has to practice to those conditions.
“What we’re seeing, with his temperament, I think he’s good enough (to score runs in England). It all depends if he gets a good start. He has the ability.
“If he can play a season or two in English county cricket there would be nothing wrong (with that) because if you want to be the best player in the world you have to get runs everywhere.
“With so many players, we are seeing they are outstanding outside India or Pakistan, (but) when they come to the subcontinent, they don’t get runs. Maybe they are playing on a fast, bouncy track and when it comes to a turning track they are not good enough.
“The bar which we as cricketers set for these people is that you have to be good in all conditions. That’s what we used to say about Allan Border or Vivian Richards or Sunil Gavaskar – they were players to play any part, anywhere, any kind of conditions, they used to perform.
“Virat Kohli, the question mark, is in front of him, it’s there. He has to get runs where it is considered to be the toughest conditions in the world.”
Dev was Indian captain when they beat England 2-0 in a three-match contest in 1986 but only once since, in 2007, have India won a Test series on English soil.
Dev’s fear is that with the rise of limited-overs cricket and a packed schedule, the current crop will have little time to acclimatise before the series begins at Edgbaston on August 1.
“When you win the series, I think every day it looked beautiful,” Dev recalled.
“You don’t play well, I think you want to finish the tour and run away.
“Most of the teams struggle in India because of the spinning track, turning pitches, and I think it’s the same thing (in England) – when the ball starts moving, people are not used to it so much. That takes time to settle down.
“The bad part is that they don’t get enough practice to play county cricket like we used to get because there’s so much cricket happening, they don’t have time on the schedule.”
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