Ishant Sharma has praised Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s leadership as India look to dash England’s Champions Trophy hopes and secure both ICC 50-over titles at Edgbaston.
Despite England’s status as tournament hosts, it is the World Cup holders who will start Sunday’s final as favourites having won all their games in the tournament, including Thursday’s comprehensive eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the semi-finals.
Captain Dhoni has led his side through a testing transitional period to a point where they are a force to be reckoned within all forms of the game; they currently sit in the top three in the Test, ODI and Twenty20 rankings.
And Ishant has revealed how the support of his skipper has done wonders for the confidence of him and his teammates. “Obviously, the support in the team, and the support from the captain is very crucial for any player, not only for me,” he said. “MS is always supporting every youngster in the team. So I think he’s been tremendous with everyone. I think what I can say about him without doubt is that it is a real pleasure to have him in our side as the captain.”
While the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, the tournament’s top run scorer, the bowling of Ishant, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav has played an equally vital part in India’s advance to the final.
Good fielding side too
Ishant believes focusing on the vital ingredients of line and length has been key, as well as improved performances in fielding, has helped the Indian attack, which was questioned in some quarters prior to the tournament, to perform so well.
He said: “Taking wickets are the things outsiders look for, but if you’re bowling in a good rhythm and you’re hitting the landing the way you can, I think that’s the most important thing. “Our fielding has been really tremendous. If you have the kind of fielders we have at the moment on the team, I think everyone is charging up and everyone wants to have the ball in their hand when the ball comes. It gives you really big confidence for every fast bowler, not only for me. I think it’s very good and we’ll keep working hard on our fielding and in every department. We are getting better.”