The much awaited final Test Match of India vs England Test Series is all set to start from July 1 in Birmingham. The match is crucial for both sides because it will decide the result of the series as well as crucial ICC World Test Championship points. However, there has been a bad news for Indian fans because probably the most crucial individual for the final test might miss the match. Indian team have found themselves in quite a huge problem ahead of the 5th Test versus England at Birmingham. Newly appointed Indian Cricket Team skipper, Rohit Sharma has tested positive for Covid-19 during the warm-up game against Leicestershire. Owing to that, he also missed the second innings of the practice match. There are high chances that Rohit Sharma is likely to miss the game. If Rohit misses the final test then it would be difficult to choose as to who will open the innings because KL Rahul is also unavailable. However, the major problem and the most interesting thing will be to see that who will lead India if Rohit Sharma misses England Test?
The Indian team management are strongly hoping that Rohit Sharma will recover in time and will be fit to play in the Test on July 1. Let’s all wish this to not happen but in case if the Hitman misses the game then India will face a serious captaincy issue because vice-captain KL Rahul has already been ruled out against England.
On Monday, Indian management has already called up Mayank Agarwal, the opener, to join the squad in Birmingham as cover for Rohit. They have called Mayank as standby for Rohit, in case the skipper fails to recover in time. In absence of Rohit, it is likely that Mayank opens with Shubman Gill and will feature in the Indian playing XI if required. But the bigger problem is captaincy. Who will do captaincy in absence of Rohit Sharma?
UPDATE – #TeamIndia Captain Mr Rohit Sharma has tested positive for COVID-19 following a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) conducted on Saturday. He is currently in isolation at the team hotel and is under the care of the BCCI Medical Team.
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 25, 2022
Who will lead India if Rohit Sharma misses England Test?
In the five match Test Series, India is leading 2-1 with a draw match between the two team. In those four matches, Rohit scored 368 runs at 52.57 which includes two fifties and a hundred. The stats are enough to show his importance in the team as a batsman.
The following mentioned players are the one who can step up and lead the Indian Team in absence of Rohit Sharma. Let’s take a brief look at the possible captaincy options :
It will be quite a rare moment to witness in Indian Cricket if Bumrah will be chosen to lead the side. Because there have not been much bowlers who have led Indian team in the past. In case it happens, Bumrah will be the first bowler to lead an Indian side since Kapil Dev in the longest format. That will be a huge gap of three decades.
However, it would be not a big surprise if Bumrah becomes the captain because in the past few years, he has become a member of the leadership group in the Indian camp. He was also named the vice-captain for India’s tour of South Africa during the ODI series when KL Rahul was appointed captain in Rohit Sharma’s absence. He was also the vice-captain during the Test and T20I series against Sri Lanka. Bumrah posses the experience of serving as Rohit’s deputy.
Bumrah has played 29 Tests matches for Team India at the international level but leading the side will be a difficult task because he has zero experience in leadership of India in any format. Unlike the other players, Bumrah also has never captained a side in the IPL.
There have been many occasions in the past when the management has groomed him as a future captain. Even at present, the rising star is being seen as a potential candidate to lead team India in all formats after Rohit. Pant has the edge over the other candidates because he had plenty of leadership experience after leading the Delhi Capitals for two seasons in the IPL.
Pant was appointed the captain during the five-match T20I series at home against South Africa after Rohit Sharma was rested and KL Rahul was injured. It was also his first taste of captaincy in international cricket. He did not have an auspicious beginning as India lost the first two matches of the series. However, Pant impressed everyone with his comeback after India won the next two matches. The series ended in a draw after the last match was cancelled due to rain.
India are already leading 2-1 against England and Pant’s natural aggressive instincts might be the right one to test here. It would be exciting to know whether the team management chooses Pant to lead in a high-stakes Test.
The former skipper, King Kohli is the most deserving as well as the most unlikely one to lead India if Rohit Sharma misses England Test. It would be quite a magical story if India wins this historic series under the leadership of the man who started it all. Kohli stepped down from the Test captaincy after suffering a 2-1 series defeat against South Africa. But it would be unfair to question his leadership skills.
Virat Kohli is the most successful captain of Indian Cricket Team in the longest format. Under his captaincy, India won 40 out of the 68 matches with a win percentage of 58.82. It was Kohli who led India to new heights in Test cricket. India became the No.1 ranked side in the world and also reached the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.
It would be interesting to know whether Kohli takes the captaincy hat again to finish his incomplete task against England.
In the end all we can say is that fans are hoping for Rohit Sharma to recover in time and clinched the series against England. It would be Hitman’s first match as skipper of the national side away from home.