IND vs ENG: Jasprit Bumrah is expected to be India's uncommon fast bowling captain.
A fast bowler is expected to lead India in a Test match for the first time in three and a half decades. After regular skipper Rohit Sharma tested positive with Covid-19 only days before the rescheduled fifth Test against England at Edgbaston on July 1, Jasprit Bumrah is expected to follow in Kapil Dev's footsteps.
A speed bowler has not led the Indian Test XI since 1987, and with usual vice-captain KL Rahul out injured, Bumrah may take over. Head coach Rahul Dravid has referred to the number of captains he has had to deal with in his brief tenure, and it appears like another name will be added to the list.
There is still a slim chance for Rohit to play and lead India in Birmingham, with the five-day isolation period mandated for Covid-positive individuals ending just before the game, but that is a risky proposition because he would be entering the deciding Test cold after being cocooned in a room for an extended period of time.
Bumrah was selected vice-captain for the ODI series in South Africa earlier this year when Sharma was injured and Rahul had to lead the team. Pat Cummins, another fast bowler, has made a great start to his Australian Test captaincy, winning the Ashes and a series in Pakistan. However, India has been hesitant to entrust pace bowlers with the additional duty.
The fact that there hasn't been somebody of Kapil's caliber in the previous 35 years might be a factor. Furthermore, fast bowling is a physically and mentally taxing sport, particularly on pitches associated with India, and there is a school 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 isn't made from the same fabric.
"It would be an honor if I were given the opportunity to lead India." I doubt any athlete would say no. "There is no greater feeling than that," Bumrah said earlier this year after being selected vice-captain for the ODI series in South Africa.
"I don't chase after things because I don't want to." I am a person who thinks that God has a plan and that everything will work out in its own time, therefore I don't like to interfere with that plan. I try not to change anything. Whatever duty is assigned to me, I will perform it to the best of my ability. I don't want to alter the entire organization; as a senior member of the team, you are always a leader, so it's just a position that comes with you. Basically, you attempt to assist everyone in every way you can."