Mahi bhai groomed bowlers & left them for Virat: Ishant Sharma

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | August 29, 2023 IST

Dhoni and Kohli

New Delhi, Aug 29: India fast bowler Ishant Sharma has discussed the contrast in captaincy styles of Virat Kohli and M.S Dhoni and stated that the former wicketkeeper has groomed the bowlers by identifying their traits and handed them to his successor Kohli.

Dhoni, the two-time World Cup-winning skipper, served as the Test captain from 2008 to 2014 and led the limited-overs squads from 2007 to 2017.

Under Dhoni's reign as captain, notable pacers like Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami made their debut.

Speaking to JioCinema, Ishant praised Kohli as an exceptional captain while also implying that, following the transition period under Dhoni, a fully developed bowling lineup was in place for him.

"He was the best. When Virat was captain, bowling was complete. When we were playing under Mahi bhai, we were in a transition phase. At that time, Shami and Umesh were new, and only I was there. Everyone else would rotate. Bhuvi was also new. There is no match for Mahi bhai as a communicator. But what he did was groom the bowlers and leave them with Virat.

"Shami and Umesh, over time, became different bowlers and then Jasprit came in. So, he got a complete package. The best thing he did was identify everyone’s traits, that he used to talk about one thing with one person and then let them be," Ishant said.

Ishant went on to reveal how Kohli, in his role as captain, had a keen ability to discern the characteristics of each individual and would offer distinct guidance to each player, enabling their growth.

"First thing, he was aggressive. If you’re bowling with the new ball, you can concede 25 runs in five overs as long as you take two wickets. The important thing was that he gave everyone defined roles. He used to tell me, ‘You have played enough matches, it’s now time for you to step up. Don’t bowl thinking you have to bowl in a particular area, now you have to find ways of getting wickets’.

"He went to Shami and said, ‘I know you can take wickets, but now I need you to bowl consistently. That you can bowl three overs as maidens’. He went to Bumrah and said, ‘This is your debut, you do what you do, but consistency is most important in Test cricket’. After 2021, I realized he wanted all of us to think out of the box," added Ishant. (IANS)

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