The Indian captain tested positive for COVID-19 again on Wednesday (June 29). Dravid stated that the medical team is monitoring his condition.
Earlier, a report by news agency PTI claimed that pacer Jasprit Bumrah would be leading the Indian team in the rescheduled Test in Birmingham. This was because Sharma was ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19 for the second time on Wednesday.
PTI quoted a senior BCCI official as saying:
“Rohit is out of this Test match, starting July 1, as his RT-PCR test has come positive again. He is still in isolation. Jasprit Bumrah, who is one of the vice-captains in absence of KL Rahul, will lead the team.”
However, at a press conference, Dravid clarified that the Indian captain has not been officially ruled out yet. He stated:
“He’s being monitored by our medical team. He has not yet been ruled out.”
Dravid added about Rohit Sharma’s condition:
“He needs to get the negative tests to be available. So we’ll keep monitoring that, as we still got those 36 hours or so to go. We’ll have a test later tonight as well and maybe one tomorrow morning as well. And then we’ll see obviously, he’ll have to come out of that and it’s really up to the medical team and the sports science team to decide on that.”
Dravid was also questioned about whether Bumrah will lead the team in case Sharma gets ruled out of the Test. The Indian head coach replied that a call on the same would be taken by the Chetan Sharma-led selection committee. He explained:
“I think it is probably better that the communication comes officially from the official sources. I am not sure whether Chetan (Sharma) is but you know, once we have exact clarity on Rohit then I think you will hear from official sources. It is not for me to give out official communication.”
Rohit Sharma was India’s leading run-getter during the previous Test series in England, scoring 368 runs at an average of 52.57.
If Rohit Sharma gets officially ruled out, Cheteshwar Pujara or Hanuma Vihari could open the innings in the Birmingham Test. Pujara has opened in five Tests in the past. He even has a hundred to his name as opener, scoring an unbeaten 145 against Sri Lanka in Colombo in September 2015.
Vihari, on the other hand, has opened the batting in one Test match for India, during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne in 2018. He scored eight off 66 in the first innings and 13 off 45 in the second.
India have brought in Mayank Agarwal as cover for Rohit Sharma but according to reports, he is not in contention to open the innings.