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The candidates for India captaincy if Rohit Sharma misses England Test

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By Karan Sen

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With Rohit Sharma seemingly a doubt for the high-stakes upcoming Test between India and England, India have a captaincy conundrum.

Rohit tested positive for Covid-19 during the warm-up game against Leicestershire, missing the second innings of the match.

There is hope in the Indian team management that he will recover in time for the Test on July 1, but should he fail to do so, India will have a captaincy conundrum, with vice-captain KL Rahul also ruled out of the clash.

On Monday, India called up Mayank Agarwal, the opener, to join the squad in Birmingham as cover for Rohit. 

The series is vital for both sides, with the series on the line as well as crucial ICC World Test Championship points up for grabs.   

The Indian squad still has a few members in their ranks who can step up to fill the void. Here, we take a look at a few of those candidates: 

Jasprit Bumrah

If Bumrah is indeed tasked with leading the side, it will be a historic moment for Indian cricket. Bumrah will become the first pacer since Kapil Dev to captain an Indian unit in the longest format. That's a gap of three decades. 

Bumrah has risen through the ranks in Indian cricket and is now a member of the leadership group. He was earlier named vice-captain during India's tour of South Africa during the ODI series, with KL Rahul leading the side in Rohit Sharma's absence. He was also the vice-captain during the Test and T20I series against Sri Lanka, serving as Rohit's deputy. 

Captaining the side though will still be a big task nonetheless for Bumrah, who has so far played 29 Tests at the international level. He is yet to don the leadership hat for India in any format, and has also not captained a side in the IPL. 

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Rishabh Pant

The rising star is being groomed as a future captain by the Indian team management. He has also had plenty of leadership experience in the IPL, leading the Delhi Capitals for two seasons. 

Pant recently had his first taste of captaincy in international cricket during the five-match T20I series at home against South Africa. It wasn't the most auspicious of starts for Pant, as India lost the first two contests of the series. The team regrouped though, winning the next two matches before rain led to a no-result in the fifth match in Bengaluru. 

Pant's natural aggressive instincts could come in handy as a leader, with India going for the hunt in the fifth match in a series they are already leading 2-1. It now remains to be seen whether the team management tasks him with the responsibility in a high-stakes Test. 

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Virat Kohli

An outside bet, but what a story it would be if India were to clinch a historic series victory under the leadership of the man who started it all. Kohli gave up the captaincy in the longest format after a 2-1 series defeat in South Africa. But there is no questioning the pedigree of his leadership. 

Under his guidance, India scaled new heights in Test cricket, becoming the No.1 ranked side in the world and reaching the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship. Kohli is India's most successful captain in the longest format, with India winning 40 out of the 68 matches under his leadership – a win percentage of 58.82. 

Whether Kohli remains keen on donning the captaincy hat again remains to be seen. But India could do much worse than tasking the responsibility to a man under whose guidance they took a 2-1 lead in the series. 

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