Kohli, who was ruled out from turning up for English county team Surrey in June as preparation for the upcoming tour of England – arrived at the BKC facility’s indoor nets early afternoon with Team India assistant coach Sanjay Bangar. The skipper spent a valuable few hours before wrapping up for the day and is expected to continue with a similar schedule over the next week.
The 29-year-old will undergo a fitness Test in Bangalore on June 15 – a day after the one-off Test between India and Afghanistan gets underway at the Chinnaswamy Stadium – and is expected to regain full fitness over the course of next two weeks. Team India sources confirmed to TOI that Kohli will take the flight to Ireland along with the rest of the T20 team on June 23 and will be available for all matches.
The Indian team is scheduled to play two T20 Internationals against Ireland in Dublin on June 27 and 29 before leaving for England where the three-match T20 series against the hosts begins on July 3 followed by a three-match One-day International series starting July 12 and eventually the five-Test series starting August 1.
“He’s begun with a relatively lighter stint at the indoor nets. In a couple of days, he’ll be back on the field and by the end of the first two weeks (of June) – around the15th – he’ll be in Bangalore for the fitness test and to begin training,” a source said.
Contrary to the “highly exaggerated reports” surrounding Kohli’s injury and all the speculation around it, BCCI sources said Kohli had to avoid the Surrey stint only to ensure he remains fully fit for the tour of England.
“Surrey was an option; the England tour is a responsibility. He’s taken a break whenever there was a need for it. That’s why he sat out of the last T20 in South Africa and did not play in the Nidahas Trophy. It shows that priorities are well in place. It’s unfortunate that Virat hasn’t been able to leave for Surrey but recovering fully in time is the more important thing,” the source added.
Kohli was ruled out from playing for Surrey following assessments by the BCCI medical team, subsequent scans, and a specialist visit. Team physio Patrick Farhart and trainer Shankar Basu then got together to plan a period of rehabilitation for the skipper under the supervision of the medical team.
The England tour remains among Kohli’s topmost cricketing priorities, considering his stint on the 2014 tour. With a mere 134 runs in five Test matches back then, Kohli averaged a dismal 13.40 on that tour and is now backing himself to rewrite those figures.