35 years after Kapil Dev, Bumrah is the rare fast bowler to lead the Indian Test side

Rarely has a fast bowler been chosen to lead the team 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 named India captain for the fifth and final Test against England at Edgbaston, which begins on July 1.

With regular captain Rohit Sharma out with Covid and vice-captain KL Rahul ruled out with injury, the Edgbaston test could be Bumrah’s first as India captain.

Earlier this year, Bumrah was promoted to vice-captain of the Indian team for the three-game ODI series in South Africa. In the press conference, the Pace spearhead then said that he was ready to captain India if the opportunity arose.

“If you had the opportunity, it would be an honor. I don’t think a player would say no. There’s no greater feeling than that,” Bumrah said at the time.

“I don’t like chasing things because I don’t want to … See, I’m a person who believes that God has a plan and everything will find its own way, so I don’t like getting in the way of the plan there.” I try never to change anything.

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

β€œBasically, you try to help everyone wherever you can. Even in the Mumbai Indians there are many older players, but now I’m also one of the older players, so you help the captain, help everyone, play the leading role even if you’re not asked.

“That’s how I see it. I never want that, you know, just for personal gratification, I have the okay, I want to be in it, I have to be the captain. It’s just a post, it’s just a name, you have to do your job and help people as much as you can.”

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

With Rohit Sharma likely to miss the one-off friendly against England due to Covid, a spot at the top of India’s friendly batting line-up has been vacated.

India may have to go with backup opener Hanuma Vihari, who has previously, or there could be a chance for Srikar Bharat.

Hanuma Vihari has already opened at the MCG, and despite only scoring 8 and 13, he spent 80 minutes in the first inning and nearly an hour at the kink in the second, helping save the new ball and earning the praise from the then-India captain Virat Kohli.

But judging by form it could be KS Bharat who impressed with the racket in the friendly against Leicestershire. The 28-year-old, who batted 7th in the first innings, went unbeaten with 70 while hitting a lively 43 in the second innings. Bharat opened for India in the absence of Rohit Sharma and was involved with Shubman Gill in a 62-run stand for the opening wicket.

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

It’s still unlikely but India’s team management might have presented themselves with another, left-wing option 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 tested positive on the rapid antigen test in Leicester, England. His test was conducted on Saturday June 25th. He has been isolated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) medical team monitoring his health.”

News of Rohit’s positive test came through after matchday three of the warm-up game against Leicestershire. R Ashwin’s arrival on the tour was delayed after testing positive before leaving India.

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