‘Players responding to changes’: Jasprit Bumrah allays transition fears.

This current bunch has been used to the Kohli-Shastri leadership template. The Dravid way is a whole lot different and the leadership group is yet to be stabilised. It’s a challenge the squad is confronting right now.

Turbulence has hit Indian cricket hard in the last three months. Since Virat Kohli announced that he would be stepping down as T20I captain, coinciding with Rahul Dravid taking over as head coach, the pot has been simmering.

Kohli’s decision to quit Test captaincy immediately after the Test series loss to South Africa has not helped, leaving the team looking a bit vulnerable. With the ODI series against South Africa beginning on Wednesday, the Indian team is in dire need of a leader which could bring in some stability.

“Change is the only constant and we are happy,” Bumrah, the vice-captain for the ODI series, said on Monday. Measured with his words, he went on to add: “I can’t speak for everyone but I can say that for me, it doesn’t really make much of a difference. All the players are responding to the changes that have happened and everybody is respectful and understand how the processes are going.”

This current bunch has been used to the Kohli-Shastri leadership template. The Dravid way is a whole lot different and the leadership group is yet to be stabilised. It’s a challenge the squad is confronting right now.

“Everybody is contributing, and we are getting a lot of knowledge and trying to contribute to that. I don’t think anybody is facing a problem or is in a weird space with the change that is happening,” Bumrah tried to reassure everyone.

“Everybody understands change and have played enough cricket to understand that this is the way the game goes and this is how you move forward. So, everyone in the team is quite positive and eager to contribute,” he added.

KL Rahul and Bumrah have been tasked to lead the team as captain and vice-captain respectively. The responsibilities have come by default with BCCI removing Kohli as ODI captain and designated captain Rohit Sharma missing out due to injury.

In a way, the series could be an audition for a competent leader. It’s about who puts his hand up and rises to the occassion.

“If given an opportunity, it will be an honour and I don’t see any player (who) would say no and I am no different,” Bumrah said about a possible captaincy role. “I look at this situation in the same manner…taking responsibility and talking to players and helping them out has always been my approach and it will always be my approach.

“Even when I am not vice-captain, I try to talk to some of the younger guys, have a lot of discussions on what kind of fields that need to be set and I will try to do that again as well,” he added.

“As a bowler, when I first came into the team, I asked as many questions as possible to the seniors and in this transition phase if anyone asks me questions, the younger lot, I will share my experience with them. And if a new guy comes in a nd gives a fresh perspective, we take that seriously too.”

The ODI series starting in Paarl will mark the start of a new era for India. It’s time for the next generation to step up and ensure there aren’t too many rude shocks along the path.

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