Wed, 29 Jun 2022 05:30 PM IST
Captain Rohit Sharma, who is suffering from COVID-19, is set to miss the rescheduled 5th Test between India and England, starting July 1 in Birmingham. In Rohit's absence, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah will lead the side, news agency ANI reported on Wednesday.
Bumrah, who was named India's Test vice-captain in South Africa earlier this year, has been informed about the decision in the team meeting.
Bumrah will become the first pacer in 35 years to lead the Indian Test team. 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.
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 world's best fast bowlers.
The Chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma had already said that he is being groomed as a future leader.
Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) called up opener Mayank Agarwal to join the Indian Test squad as cover for Rohit. Agarwal has featured in 21 Tests so far, scoring 1,488 runs at an average of 41.33.
Rohit had tested positive in a Rapid Antigen Test after playing on the first day of the drawn warm-up game against Leicestershire, following which the Indian captain was placed under isolation.
Pujara Or Vihari To Open With Gill
With the experienced Rohit out of the playing eleven, seasoned Cheteshwar Pujara has a good chance of opening the batting with young Shubman Gill.
"Mayank is here just as cover. It is likely to be Pujara-Gill combination that is going to open the batting. There is an outside chance for Hanuma Vihari to open as he has done the job in a stop-gap arrangement in Australia during the 2018 series. But chances of Pujara opening are way more," the PTI report said.
It is understood that the specialist batters in the set-up will be Pujara, Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Vihari and Rishabh Pant.
The only other debatable matter is whether to play a fourth fast bowling all-rounder in Shardul Thakur or a second spinner in Ravichandran Ashwin alongside Ravindra Jadeja.
Along with Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami select themselves automatically.
The fifth Test against England is from last year's incomplete series which got spilled to this season due to an outbreak of covid-19 in the Indian camp.
India is leading the series by 2-1.