India vs England, 5th test example: Jasprit Bumrah-led team India takes on England in Edgbaston

Never before has he navigated the tumultuous waters of leadership, but Jasprit Bumrah will certainly be happy to demonstrate his captaincy as he leads a slightly under-prepared India against a vastly improved England in the rescheduled fifth Test, which starts on Friday. India led the five-match series 2-1 as multiple COVID-19 cases in their camp led to the postponement of the final match that was part of the World Test Championship.

Nine months have passed since then and much water has flowed through the Thames, with then captain Virat Kohli relinquishing the Test captaincy. His successor, Rohit Sharma, is missing out on this game after testing positive for COVID-19.

Worse yet, Rohit’s designated deputy, KL Rahul, is also out after surgery for a sports hernia.

In this musical chair of Indian captaincy the gauntlet has been thrown to Bumrah, arguably one of the best fast bowlers in the history of Indian cricket and now poised to be the 36th man to lead the national test team.

He is widely recognized as the undisputed leader of the fast bowling group, but next Friday the challenge against Ben Stokes’ side will be very different as he walks away from the toss in the Edgbaston.

Fast bowlers in the Indian context have never really been considered worthy of leadership struggles. Kpail Dev was an exception. Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan, two outstanding exponents of fast bowling, did not even qualify for vice-captain during their heyday. And that’s why it took 35 years for India to have another pacer captain.

But leadership is instinctual — some are blessed with that sixth sense and intuition, some are born gamblers, and some get better as they grow at work.

While this arrangement is a stopgap, the Indian cricket establishment may have some idea of ​​what to expect from Bumrah when it comes time for the next baton change.

New England, new template

New Zealand’s 3-0 demolition with three tricky chases completed in style has shown that England, under new coach Brendon McCullum, have deconstructed their style sheet in terms of Test matches.

Their batters plunder the opposition’s attack, while there are fewer five-wicket hauls from the pacers if one follows the stats of the New Zealand series. It was Jack Leach who had two five-wicket-hauls and neither James Anderson nor Stuart Broad got their names on the various ‘Honours’ Boards.

The pitches have become a bit flatter which helps the batters and so Bumrah, along with Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj will have an uphill task to face a batting setup with confidence.

Joe Root, after relinquishing his captaincy, has found the touch that let him down and Jonny Bairstow, with the confidence of IPL, has scored nearly 400 runs with a strike rate of 120 plus, unheard of in Test matches .

“England did well as they won a few friendlies in positions where they could have lost the games,” Indian coach Rahul Dravid told media on Wednesday.

“We want to focus on what our strengths are instead of thinking about the strength of the opposition,” the head coach said, reminding everyone that India is still third in the World Test Championship table (58, 33 percentage points) behind Australia (75 percentage points) and South Africa (71.43% points).

Team combination a concern for India

India will need to hit well and in the absence of a regular opening pair from Rohit and Rahul, who have been fantastic in the four Tests played last year.

Coach Rahul Dravid is expecting a match-winning performance, if not a hundred, from Virat Kohli, who looked good in the exhibition match, but the test match will be a very different beast.

The friendly match against Leicestershire was more of an extended net session and the Indian teams, since Mahendra Singh Dhoni took over as captain, have barely played any official first-class games as precursor to the Test matches.

James Anderson may be a month short of his 40th birthday, but those magic wrists can still get the ball rolling and it will be a different experience for Shubman Gill or Shreyas Iyer.

Cheteshwar Pujara has scored a bag full of county runs, but that psychological disadvantage of facing the very first ball of an innings when asked to open can clog his mind.

Hanuma Vihari is a solid player but needs support from the other side as he has a defensive play.

It remains to be seen who will be India’s bowling all-rounder. Will it be Ravichandran Ashwin, who is not an automatic choice in overseas circumstances, or Shardul Thakur, who has not hurt his chances with some magnanimous efforts in SENA countries.

Edgbaston has not exactly been a happy hunting ground for India, where they have lost most of their Test matches, but as often happens with new beginnings, a new captain can always try to buck the trend.

Teams India squad: Jasprit Bumrah (Captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (World Cup), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Prasidh Krishna, Kona Srikar Bharat (World Cup), Mayank Agarwal, Umesh Yadav England XI: Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (Captain), Sam Billings (wicketkeeper), Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson.

Match starts: 3 p.m. IST.

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