Ishant Sharma believes Virat Kohli is the best India captain he has played for.
Ishant Sharma, who featured in 130 out of his 199 international matches under Dhoni's guidance, didn't think twice before commending Kohli as the most exceptional captain he has played under.
How Virat Kohli influenced his pacers
In the interim between Zaheer Khan's retirement and the subsequent reformation in Indian cricket's fast bowling, Ishant Sharma carried the bulk of the load in Test matches.
While players like Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were present, their collective prowess as fast bowlers wasn't fully realized until Virat Kohli assumed the Test team's leadership.
Ishant, Shami, Umesh, and Bhuvi all gained prominence during MS Dhoni's captaincy, but their transition into a formidable fast-bowling unit occurred under Kohli's watch.
This transformation was certainly influenced by their accrued experience and progression, but Kohli's aggressive leadership style undoubtedly played a bigger part. The rise of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami as potent quicks in all formats underscores this shift.
Why does Ishant Sharma consider Virat Kohli the best captain he has played under?
With a majority of his cricketing career spent under Dhoni's mentorship—130 out of his total 199 international matches—Ishant Sharma confidently lauded Kohli as the finest captain. Yet, Ishant acknowledged Dhoni's role in nurturing the fast bowlers before they were handed over to Kohli, who elevated them to new heights.
The bond between Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma. pic.twitter.com/meWfr5CRlo— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) July 21, 2023
“He (Kohli) 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,” Sharma said.
“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 Iet them be.”
The figures are on Kohli's side as well. His captaincy for India reflects a considerably higher win percentage (63.38) compared to Dhoni's (53.61). Notably, only Rohit Sharma holds a win percentage higher than Kohli's.
Ishant concurred that Kohli's assertive nature was a positive trait. What truly elevated his captaincy, nevertheless, was his skill in recognizing the individual strengths of every fast bowler and keeping open lines of communication with them.