Indian cricket was blessed with two contrasting styles of leadership this decade. While Kohli’s aggression and his penchant of making Team India the best Test team in the world has brought unparalleled success in the purest format of the game, Mahendra Singh Dhoni courtesy his cool-and-calm demeanor guided the Men in Blue to championship heists like the 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy.
Every leader likes to marshall his troops according to his own penchant. It was clear during Dhoni’s captaincy days that the champion captain liked his spinners. Give him a pitch that is slightly aiding the spinners, and Dhoni with a plethora of ammunition at his disposal would proceed to ch0ke the opposition. Virat Kohli is different. He likes working with fast bowlers. And, one can very well gauge that considering how the fast bowling unit has developed under his leadership.
One of the players, Ishant Sharma, who have played under the leadership of both MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli explained the difference between the two and why the fast bowlers and the Test team have been hugely successful in the Kohli-era.
“Look during Dhoni’s time, some of us didn’t have that much of experience. Also, the fast bowlers would be rotated a lot, that’s also a reason that consistency as a group couldn’t be achieved If you know that you are a pool of 3-4 fast bowlers (now with Jasprit Bumrah), that increases communication. Earlier, there would be 6 to 7 bowlers, communication wasn’t there.” Sharma said as quoted by India Today.
Ishant Sharma credits the experience and family-like environment in the dressing room
Ishant explained that by the time Virat took over [in 2015], the bowlers had gained a fair bit of experience at the International level while also reckoning that the team lives like a family, makes it easier for them to go out there and perform without any baggage.
“But when Virat took over, we have all by then gained a fair amount of experience and that helped. Now when you play more, stay in that dressing room more, spend more time with the team compared to family, discussions are free and frank. And then you start enjoying when you go out there in the middle. That’s a different feeling,” the 96-Test veteran said.
Ishant recently returned to FC cricket where he claimed eight wickets in the match to spearhead Delhi’s win over Hyderabad.
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