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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 2:47 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 2:47 AM (IST)

‘Proper big dog’ coming, Ali warns Surrey

‘Proper big dog’ coming, Ali warns Surrey
Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes are full of praise for Virat Kohli. file

New Delhi, May 16

Some assumptions in the Surrey dressing room are sure to come crashing down when a “proper big dog” joins the side, said England all-rounder Moeen Ali while reflecting on Virat Kohli's much talked-about county stint next month. While there aren't too many big local names in the Surrey squad, there are a few international stars in the line-up such as South Africa's Morne Morkel, Tom Curran, Dean Elgar and Australia's Mitchell Marsh and Aaron Finch. 

Ali and his compatriot Chris Woakes are playing under Kohli for Royal Challengers Bangalore. “I know a few of the Surrey guys and they are not what people make them out to be most of the time. But if anyone in that dressing room does think he's a big dog, he will need to sit down for a little while because there is a proper big dog coming,” Moeen was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Ali and Woakes also rejected the perception that the Indian captain 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's 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,” said Ali.  

“Sometimes a player will invite the squad to his house for a meal and it would be easy for him (Kohli) 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.” 

Endorsing Ai's view, Woakes 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.” 

Woakes went to the extent of saying that any other player of the team is irrelevant when Kohli is around.  “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, that will be an experience too. Having spoken to him about it, he loves touring other countries — it's a release,” Woakes added. — PTI

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