- Rohit Sharma is down with Covid-19 following the warm-up game at Leicester last week.
- It is plausible that Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah might lead the Indian team at the 5th Test against England at Edgbaston.
- Bumrah will be the team’s first pacer to be given command since Kapil Dev
Fast bowlers are more often than not stationed on the fence at third man or fine-leg on most occasions on account of their ability to unleash powerful throws and allow them a breather in between overs. Yet another plausible reason is that they are not considered tacticians or leaders and are looked at as individuals who are not very vocal during team huddles.
There is no denying that there have been exceptions in this regard, viz. Courtney Walsh for West Indies, Bob Willis for England, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis for Pakistan and Pat Cummins for Australia. Kapil Dev, Ian Botham, Shaun Pollock and Imran Khan were also fast bowlers, but they were also incredibly talented all-rounders.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma has been diagnosed positive for Covid-19 following his warm-up game at Leicester last week. However, during a virtual press conference held on Wednesday, Indian coach Rahul Dravid mentioned that Rohit is being closely monitored by the medical team and that he has not been officially ruled out. When questioned about the likelihood of Bumrah taking on the reigns of captaincy, Rahul said that he preferred the disclosure to come from the official sources rather than declaring it himself.
If the pacer walks out for the toss, he will undoubtedly make a good leader owing to his problem-solving skills and ability to maintain composure amidst tense situations. Citing an instance from Australia when Kohli returned to India on paternity leave, Bumrah and R Ashwin were Rahane’s go-to men whenever he needed advice.
Bumrah, in the past, has been very supportive of newcomers, like Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj, guiding them and telling them what needs to be done and the lengths they were required to operate on. Alongside this, he also exhibited leadership off the field.
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Bumrah will be the team’s first pacer to be given command since Kapil Dev. The names of R Ashwin and Rishabh Pant were also brought up, but they ultimately fell short.
Bumrah was appointed vice-captain to KL Rahul during the white-ball leg at South Africa and was asked about his thoughts in case test captaincy fell upon his shoulders, as Rohit at that time was not declared as the full-time skipper. Bumrah said that if such a situation comes, he would be delighted to take it up as it would be an honour to lead the team.
For the record, the selectors did not choose a vice-captain for the series when KL Rahul withdrew owing to a groin injury. In addition to the difficult decision regarding the captain, the Indian squad must decide who would open alongside Shubman Gill. There are two candidates, with Mayank Agarwal having the advantage over KS Bharat.
The fifth and final test of the five-game series, which takes place July 1–5, was abruptly ended last year owing to an outbreak of Covid-19 among the Indian players. India now leads the series 2-1.