By: Express News Service |
Updated: June 27, 2022 12:00:11 am
Jasprit Bumrah is set to follow in Kapil Dev’s footsteps after regular captain Rohit Sharma tested positive for Covid-19 just days ahead of the rescheduled fifth Test against England. (File)
For the first time in three and a half decades, a fast bowler is likely to lead India in a Test match. Jasprit Bumrah is set to follow in Kapil Dev’s footsteps after regular captain Rohit Sharma tested positive for Covid-19 just days ahead of the rescheduled fifth Test against England at Edgbaston starting July 1.
Not since 1987 has a pace bowler been at the helm of the Indian Test XI, and with regular vice-captain KL Rahul out injured, Bumrah may occupy the hot seat. Head coach Rahul Dravid had alluded to the number of different captains he has had to deal with during his relatively short tenure, and it seems another name will be added to the list.
There is still a slim chance for Rohit to play, and lead India, in Birmingham as the five-day isolation period mandated for Covid-positive persons finishing just before the game begins, but that may be a risky proposition as he would be going into the deciding Test cold after being cocooned in a room for a significant duration.
Bumrah was named vice-captain for the ODI series in South Africa at the beginning of the year, when Sharma was out with injury and Rahul had to lead the side. Fellow fast bowler Pat Cummins has had an impressive start to his Australian Test captaincy stint, winning the Ashes and a series in Pakistan. But India has been reluctant to trust pace bowlers with the added responsibility.
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The fact that there was hardly anyone of Kapil’s overall stature over the last 35 years could be a factor. Also, fast bowling is back-breaking business, especially on pitches traditionally associated with India, and there may be a line of thought that after sending down their share of overs, pacers would be left with little physical and mental reserves to focus on bowling changes, field placements, team building and motivating other players.
But there’s a chance Bumrah may be cut from a different cloth.
“If given an opportunity (to lead India), it would be an honour. I don’t think any player would say no. There’s no bigger feeling than that,” Bumrah had said earlier this year when he was named vice-captain for the ODI series in South Africa.
“I don’t like to chase things because I don’t want to. I am a person who believes that God has a plan and everything will find 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.”
With England a transformed lot lately under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, it remains to be seen how Bumrah deals with the challenge – both as a bowler and captain – if he is elevated to the top job.
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