Bumrah to lead India, Rohit ruled out of fifth Test against England

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah (second from right). File photo: AFP

New Delhi: Jasprit Bumrah is set to become the first fast bowler in 35 years to lead the Indian Test team in the rescheduled 'fifth Test' against England as regular captain Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the game after testing positive for COVID-19 for the second time on Wednesday.

The last pacer-captain that India had was the great Kapil Dev, who was removed from captaincy in 1987. Since then, India has never had a speed merchant leading the team in traditional cricket.

"Rohit is out of this Test match, starting July 1, as his RT-PCR test has come positive again. He is still in isolation. Jasprit Bumrah, who is one of the vice-captains in absence of KL Rahul, will lead the team," a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

However, head coach Rahul Dravid didn't want to give it away as he said that they still have 36 hours before the commencement of the Test and will wait till the result of another RT-PCR test report on Thursday is known.

"Rohit is being monitored by the medical team. He is not yet ruled out. Obviously, he needs to get the negative tests before being available. So, he will have a test tonight and one maybe tomorrow morning as well and then we will see," Dravid said during a virtual media interaction.

"It's up to the medical team and the sports science team to decide. I haven't had a chance to see him since he is in quarantine and isolation. We will keep monitoring the situation."

Asked if Bumrah will lead the team, Dravid the coach presented a typical dead-bat like Dravid the skipper who used to play during his playing day's media interactions.

"It is probably better if the communication comes from official sources. I am not sure where Chetan (Sharma, the chief selector) is, but once we have the exact clarity on Rohit, you will hear from the official sources. It's not for me to give out official communication," the head coach said.

Bumrah will be the 36th cricketer to lead India in the longest-format since the country first played in 1932. The Gujarat pacer, who has 123 wickets in 29 Tests, has grown into one of the world's best fast bowlers.

The Chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma had already said that Bumrah is being groomed as a future leader.

Fast bowlers have not been traditionally given the job in India unlike in Pakistan where their greatest skipper was Imran Khan. Legends like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis also led Pakistan.

In West Indies, Courtney Walsh led the side for a considerable amount of time and world number one Pat Cummins is now leading Australia in the longest format.

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