35 years after Kapil Dev, Bumrah to be the rare fast bowler to lead India Test side

Rarely has a fast bowler been picked to lead the side in Indian cricket. Kapil Dev was a glorious exception. No fast bowler has led India since Kapil Dev in March 1987. 35 years later Jasprit Bumrah is likely to be officially designated as captain of India for the fifth and final Test against England at Edgbaston, starting from July 1.

With regular captain Rohit Sharma down with Covid and vice-captain KL Rahul being ruled due to injury, the Edgbaston Test could be Bumrah’s first as an Indian captain.

Earlier this year, Bumrah has been promoted as the vice-captaincy of the Indian team for the three-match ODI series in South Africa. In the press conference, the pace spearhead had then said that if the opportunity comes, he is ready to take up the India captaincy.

“If given an opportunity, it would be an honor. I don’t think any player would say no. There’s no bigger feeling than that,” Bumrah had said back then.

“I don’t like to chase things because I don’t want to… See I am a person who believes that God has a plan and everything will find out its own way, so I don’t like to hamper the plan that is there. I try to never change anything.

“Whatever role is asked of me I would do it with the best ability that I can. I don’t want to change the whole organisation, you are always a leader when you are a senior member of the team so it’s just a post that comes with you.

“Basically, you try to help all the people in whatever capacity you can. Even in Mumbai Indians, you have got a lot of senior players but now I am one of the senior players as well so you help the captain, you help everyone, you play the leadership role even when you are not asked to.

“That’s how I look at it. I never want to, you know, just for personal satisfaction have that okay I want to be in this I have to be the captain. It’s just a post, it’s just a name, you have to do your job and you have to help people in the best way you can.”

Vihari or Bharat, who will open in Rohit’s absence?

With Rohit Sharma likely to be out of the one-off Test match against England, due to Covid, a place has opened up at the top of India’s Test-match batting line-up.

India might have to go with stand-in opener Hanuma Vihari, who’s done it before or there might be an outside chance for Srikar Bharat.

Hanuma Vihari has opened before, at the MCG, and while he only made 8 and 13, he spent 80 minutes at the crease in the first innings, and nearly an hour in the second, helping see off the new ball and earning the praise of the then Indian captain Virat Kohli.

But going by the form it could be KS Bharat, who had impressed with the bat in both the outing in the warm-up match against Leicestershire. Batting at No 7, in the first innings, the 28-year-old remained unbeaten on 70, while he scored a feisty 43 in the second innings. Bharat opened for India in absence of Rohit Sharma and was involved in a 62-run stand for the opening wicket with Shubman Gill.

In both the innings combined, Bharat has 209 balls (111 in the first and 98 in the second), and he looked at ease against the Leicester attack. But facing the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad will be a different ball game altogether.

It’s still unlikely, but a different, left-field option may have presented itself to India’s team management and Bharat could be an option for India to consider.

Rohit Sharma tests covid positive

India Test captain Rohit Sharma has tested positive for Covid-19 which could put him in doubt for the one-off Test against England at Edgbaston.

According to a BCCI statement, “Rohit has tested positive in the Rapid Antigen Test in Leicester, England. His test was conducted on Saturday, June 25. He’s been placed under isolation with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) medical team supervising his health.”

The news of Rohit’s positive test came through after the third day’s play of the warm-up match against Leicestershire. R Ashwin’s arrival on the tour was delayed after he tested positive before leaving India.

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