Moeen Ali has recently opened up on the issue of Indian skipper’s selection in the county cricket and said that some assumptions will come crashing down in the Surrey dressing room as “proper big dog” joins them.
Cricket news: Many people think Kohli is arrogant, but in reality he is just the opposite
Surrey’s squad does not feature many local names, but there are some international stars in the team like Morne Morkel, Tom Curran, Dean Elgar, Mitchell Marsh and Aaron Finch. Now Virat Kohli will also be added to the list.
The English left-handed batsman and right-arm off-spinner is currently playing alongside compatriot Chris Woakes in Royal Challengers Bangalore under the captaincy of Kohli.
“I know a few of the Surrey guys and they are not what people make them out to be a lot of the time. But if anyone in that dressing room does think they are a big dog, they will need to sit down for a little while because there is a proper big dog coming,” Moeen said to ‘The Guardian’.
Ali and Woakes have also brushed aside the fact that the Indian skipper is intimidating and aggressive.
“You see him on the field and people might think he’s arrogant but it is the complete opposite. He’s so humble it is almost weird how nice he is. He’s the biggest name in India but will ring me to check I’m OK or ask if I fancy lunch.
“Sometimes a player will invite the squad to their house for a meal and it would be easy for him to say no. But he would always go. I can say with certainty that anyone who has a bad word doesn’t know the guy,” Moeen Ali said.
Woakes supported Ali’s views and added, “You have your perceptions of someone like Virat, who is quite passionate, emotional, in your face and plays it hard. But off the field he’s very calm and you can chat about anything.
“He’s very down to earth and for someone who has such huge pressures and public focus in India, to see him go about his business in this way quite refreshing.”
The English pacer also added that when Kohli is in a team, the other players around him become irrelevant.
“In my first year of IPL I found as an overseas player you get a lot of attention walking through airports in India. But having him in the team – the No 1, the king – we’re almost irrelevant.
“It makes you realise what his life is like. So county cricket will be much more chilled and he’ll enjoy that. Playing at smaller grounds, which will be an experience too. Having spoken to him about it, he loves touring other countries – it’s a release.”
Woakes has also revealed Kohli’s tactics and mind-set before he approaches any match.
“Around 30 minutes before the bus leaves for a match, he does what he calls a ‘priming session’ in the gym. It’s like a short burst of Olympic weightlifting.
“It’s certainly different but it works for him. Overall, his fitness work is having a serious impact on the next generation of Indian players. He’s leaner, fitter and more agile than those before.”