July 17, 2024

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Rohit Sharma became the eighth captain to lead Team India in the ODI World Cups when he marshalled his troops in the 2023 edition of the quadrennial showpiece on home soil. Known for his adept batting skills, Rohit Sharma showcased not only his ability to score runs consistently but also demonstrated a strategic and adaptive leadership style throughout the competition. Rohit Sharma has shown an astute cricketing mind by keeping a balance between aggression and composure. The recent nine-match winning streak in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 has prompted comparisons between him and the other Indian World Cup-winning captains, Kapil Dev and MS Dhoni.

All three have left an indelible mark on the Indian cricketing landscape. Kapil Dev’s historic triumph, MS Dhoni’s era of dominance and Rohit Sharma’s strategic captaincy have contributed to a rich tapestry of leadership styles that have shaped and continue to shape Indian cricket.

We take a look at factors that distinguish the three greats as captains.

Captaincy era

Kapil Dev was handed the captaincy of the team which lacked ambition and the resources to dominate world cricket. However, despite these shortcomings, he successfully united the team, igniting a desire and instilling a winning mentality that propelled them to emerge as the best.

Meanwhile, MS Dhoni took over a team with youthful vigour and a keen desire to establish itself on the global cricket stage. He built a side that was not just talented but also mentally tough. Dhoni continued with former captain Sourav Ganguly’s fearless brand of cricket that saw India achieve success in the limited-overs format and make significant strides in Test cricket. MS Dhoni was instrumental in giving opportunities to young talents like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, nurturing a new generation of cricketers who would go on to become key contributors to Indian cricket.

Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, inherited a team with a winning mentality from Virat Kohli. Rohit Sharma struck a balance between experienced players like Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami and promising youngsters like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, which made the team into world beaters.

Leadership style

India’s cricket legend, Kapil Dev, was known for his aggressive and inspiring leadership style. His approach on the field reflected his never-say-die attitude, which culminated in the historic 1983 World Cup victory, marking a paradigm shift in Indian cricket. This historic win not only elevated Indian cricket but also established Kapil Dev as a legendary figure in the sport. Kapil Dev’s leadership during the 1983 World Cup final, where the Indian team was considered the underdog against the mighty West Indies, showcased his ability to handle pressure with resilience.

Meanwhile, MS Dhoni, often hailed as ‘Captain Cool’, brought a calm and composed demeanour to captaincy. His ability to remain calm under pressure became synonymous with his leadership. Dhoni’s ability to make strategic decisions while maintaining a serene exterior set him apart. He led with a focus on finishing games and instilling self-belief in his team. His iconic six in the 2011 World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium is etched in cricketing history as a testament to his composure under pressure.

On the other hand, Rohit Sharma has a more tactical and flexible leadership style. Rohit Sharma has displayed a knack for reading the game and making effective decisions on the field. He has brought a mix of aggression and strategic thinking in the Indian cricket setup with his leadership style.

Impact

Kapil Dev is remembered for leading the Indian team to its first Cricket World Cup trophy in 1983. This historic achievement had a transformative effect not only on Indian cricket but on the global cricketing landscape. The World Cup win lifted India’s standing in international cricket. The World Cup triumph brought global recognition to Indian cricket and paved the way for the nation to become a formidable force in the cricketing world.

Under MS Dhoni’s leadership, India witnessed unprecedented success, winning the ICC World T20 in 2007, the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013. MS Dhoni’s captaincy era is widely regarded as one of the most successful periods in Indian cricket history. MS Dhoni’s impact is massive and his tenure as captain not only brought numerous trophies but also set a benchmark for leadership in global cricket.

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma has made a considerable impact on Indian cricket. He has fostered a positive and relaxed atmosphere in the Indian dressing room. He has nurtured young talents like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Shubman Gill, transforming them into top-notch cricketers. His inclination towards providing opportunities to emerging talent has injected fresh energy into the squad, fostering a sense of competition and depth in the playing XI.

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