‘Everybody got fitter as a team’

Next challenge: The Indian players during a training session at the Boland Park, Paarl, ahead of the first one-dayer.

Next challenge: The Indian players during a training session at the Boland Park, Paarl, ahead of the first one-dayer.

The forthcoming ODI series in South Africa is going to witness plenty of firsts for India. Not only will it be K.L. Rahul’s maiden captaincy assignment in India’s blues, it will also be the first time since 2014 that Virat Kohli will be a part of an India team without leading it. Besides, the three-match series will also be Jasprit Bumrah’s maiden assignment of formally being a member of the team leadership group.

With Kohli having stepped down as Test captain as well barely a few hours earlier, Bumrah. the ace pacer who has been appointed ODI vice-captain, insisted that he doesn’t chase leadership roles.

“For me, I am ready to contribute in whatever position whatever way I can to the team. If given an opportunity, of course, you would think about it [captaincy] but that’s something that I don’t chase. I like to do my work however I can contribute. Having a post or not doesn’t really matter,” Bumrah said ahead of Wednesday’s series-opener.

“Obviously if given an opportunity, it’s an honour and there is no bigger feeling than that. But I try to focus on the things that I can contribute even if I am not given a position of a leader because that’s the job of a teammate, however you can help each other in any situation that’s very important.”

Despite Kohli having relinquished captaincy in all formats, Bumrah stressed Kohli will continue to be a leader in the group.

“He has been the leader of the team. He is energy driven. He has brought a lot of change in cricket. He has brought the fitness culture, everybody was heading in the same direction. Everybody got fitter as a team. So his contribution has been immense, and is still immense. He is a very important player, a very important leader in the group,” Bumrah said.

“He has been [the captain] for such a long period of time, so his assistance and his knowledge of the game will always be used by us as a team and his contribution will always be important. So even now, when he is there in the squad, he will obviously add inputs and he will always give a suggestion. That’s very important for all our players and we all look up to him. That’s always been the case and it will be the same going forward as well,” said Bumrah.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 6:01:35 pm |