Jasprit Bumrah will lead India in the Edgbaston Test against England, the BCCI confirmed on Thursday (30 June). Regular captain Rohit Sharma, who was a dubious starter, underwent a RAT test on Thursday morning and gave a positive result for Covid-19 and was therefore ruled out of the crucial clash.
Bumrah was the front-runner, leading the national team in the postponed friendly due to previously reported Rohit being sidelined due to Covid-19. A vice-captain was not named by the tour selectors as KL Rahul was excluded.
While the chances of Rohit making it to the game seemed slim as the 35-year-old was running out of time, management was willing to wait until the end to see if he returned a negative test result a day before the game. With the opener failing to recover, Bumrah is now the first pacesetter after Kapil Dev to lead India in a friendly.
Wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant, who led India at home against South Africa in the recently concluded T20I series, has been appointed as Bumrah’s deputy. India will also have to rely on their opening combination after Rohit was ruled out. With both regular openers excluded, Shubman Gill is likely to become one of the openers. Mayank Agarwal has recently been called up to the squad and Cheteshwar Pujara also has a chance to return to the XI. India currently leads the series 2-1 after four Tests.
Rishabh Pant acts as Jasprit Bumrah’s deputy
Wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant was appointed vice-captain of the team. Most recently he led the T20I team in a 5 game series against South Africa. India leads the series by a 2-1 margin by winning at Lord’s and The Oval on the 2021 tour. The fifth Test was postponed following a Covid outbreak and will be played at Edgbaston from July 1-5.
Meanwhile, England has confirmed their starting XI for the Test, with Zak Crawley and Alex Lees remaining in support. Sam Billings will be the wicketkeeper while James Anderson returns after a break.
Bumrah: Test captain “one of the greatest achievements of my career”
Jasprit Bumrah will lead India in the Edgbaston Test against England after Rohit Sharma failed his Covid-19 test on Thursday. Rishabh Pant becomes vice-captain of Bumrah.
This will be Bumrah’s first game as captain at a representative cricket level and he will be the first fast bowler to lead India since Kapil Dev, whose last game as India captain was an ODI against England in Mumbai in November 1987.
Bumrah becomes India’s second captain in the Pataudi Trophy, leading India 2-1 after Virat Kohli, who led the first four games before the final Test, was pushed back following a Covid-19 outbreak in the Indian camp.
Making his first public appearance as captain at Edgbaston, Bumrah couldn’t hide his excitement. “It’s a great achievement, a great honor,” he said. “For me, it was a dream to play a friendly, and to get an opportunity like that is probably one of the biggest achievements of my career. I am very happy that I got this opportunity.”
As recently as Thursday morning, Bumrah was informed by head coach Rahul Dravid that he would be leading India as Rohit failed the Covid test. “We’ve been waiting for an announcement because we’ve been waiting for confirmation from Rohit. We also did a test today (Thursday) so he tested positive on that test. Then there was a discussion with the coach [Dravid] and he announced that I will stand aside.”
Bumrah – 3rd ICC Test Bowlers
Bumrah, who is third in the ICC Test Bowlers rankings, said he immediately shared the news with his family. “When I found out about it, it was a huge achievement and I told my family. They’re proud of me and I’m very happy that this day has come. And yes, very proud of that achievement; but for now let’s focus on we have to do our work and prepare as best we can.”
Bumrah has quickly become India’s bowling hub after making his Test debut on the South African tour in December 2018. In the first four Tests of the Pataudi Trophy, Bumrah was India’s leading wicket-taker with 18 scalps averaging 20.83. A year later, Bumrah has more experience and was also India’s vice-captain for their previous Test series, at home to Sri Lanka in March. Bumrah then said he would not back down if allowed to lead India.
Now that he’s captain, Bumrah is aware of the added responsibility. “For me, nothing changes, you have to do the work. You can keep the team by doing the job as well as possible. I want to do that too. We have a very good team, we have a lot of experience, we.” I also have a lot of people who are there to help me. I’m just looking forward to helping the team as much as possible and understanding how the game is going and trying to do my best.”
Root vs Rohit
Rohit’s absence will hurt India in more ways than one. Aside from their lead, India also loses their most prolific batsman of the series; His 368 runs were only behind Joe Root’s 564 overall. Rohit, who won the Player-of-the-Match award by winning the Oval Test, posted his runs at an average of 52.57 with a century and two half centuries. Alongside KL Rahul [315 runs], he offered India a solid opening platform that not only adapted well to the seam conditions but was also able to score.
Question marks over Rohit’s participation surfaced when he tested positive for Covid-19 on day two of the Indian warm-up match in Leicester last week. After five days of isolation; Rohit returned positive tests twice on Wednesday and again on Thursday morning, about 24 hours before the test.
His absence means India will have two new openers for the final Test. One place goes to Shubman Gill, who returned to India after last year’s WTC finals with a tibia injury. For the second, Dravid had said that Cheteshwar Pujara, KS Bharat, and Hanuma Vihari were all in the running. Bumrah said team management was “pretty clear” on the batting order; including the opening games, but that the XI would not be announced until the draw.
“Rohit is a very important player and we miss him a lot. Unfortunately, that happened and he misses it, but we are clear about the combination. You just have to wait until tomorrow.”India’s
Jasprit Bumrah (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (vice-captain) (wk); KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin; Shardul Thakur, Mohd Shami, Mohd Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Mayank Agarwal