Tue, 28 Jun 2022 12:23 PM IST
It's almost certain that Rohit Sharma will miss the fifth and final match against England that will start at Edgbaston from July 1. The 35-year-old charismatic batsman tested positive for COVID-19 last week and is still recovering from the infection.
India has added Mayank Agarwal to the squad, making it certain that Rohit will miss the fifth Test. With this, India is facing a tricky question of who would lead the team in the fifth Test.
In the first four Tests played last year, Virat Kohli led the team, helping the side get 2-1 unassinable lead over England. With Rohit gone, experts and cricket pundits believe that Virat is the best man to lead the Indian team.
However, some argue whether the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) will go back to Virat after he quit the captaincy in January this year following the three-match Test series against South Africa.
Moreover, Virat has been struggling for form since long and it was this very reason why he left the captaincy. Going by this, many would argue that it wouldn't be right to hand over the reins to Virat again.
Many, meanwhile, suggest that Rishabh Pant should lead India in the last Test. Under Ricky Ponting's guidance, Pant was made the captain of Delhi Capitals (DC) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year.
The 24-year-old rising star is also being groomed as a future captain and he also led India recently in the five-match T20I series at home against South Africa. However, it wasn't a promising start for Pant the leader as India drew 2-2 with the final match being washed out.
At one point of time, India was trailing 0-2, leading to Pant's criticism. Many experts argue that Pant, who like Virat is also struggling with form, might not be the right person to lead India in Rohit's absence.
"Rishabh Pant is not mature enough to be captain. He got a chance to lead the side in the South Africa series but did a horrible job. Captaincy also tends to take a toll on his batting. I feel that he shouldn’t be the captain anymore," feels ex-Pakistani cricketer Danish Kaneria.
In Pant's place, many feel that Jasprit Bumrah would be the right choice to lead India in the one-off Test. The 28-year-old Bumrah was earlier named vice-captain for the one-day international (ODI) series against South Africa earlier this year, with KL Rahul leading the side in Sharma's absence.
Bumrah was also the vice-captain during Sri Lanka's tour of India. However, captaining the side though will still be a tough task for Bumrah, who has played 29 Tests till now. Notably, he has not even don the leadership hat for a side in the IPL or domestic level.
If he is named India's captain for the England Test, then Bumrah will become the first bowler after the legendary Kapil Dev to lead the team in the longest format of the game.
The fifth Test will be played from July 1 to 5 at the Edgbaston in Birmingham.