Mohit Sharma has heaped high praise on MS Dhoni calling him a ‘true leader’ who takes responsibility when a team loses but leaves the limelight for others times of victories.

“His (Dhoni’s) humility and sense of gratitude is what sets him apart from other players I have played with. In sport, there’s a difference between a captain and a leader – I believe he’s a true leader,” Sharma said during an Instagram Live chat organised by his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals.

Mohit has played majority of his international and IPL (Chennai Super Kings) career under the captaincy of Dhoni.

“When the team wins, you’ll never find him anywhere prominently, but when the team loses, he’s always right in front, taking responsibility – that’s the sign of a leader and why I admire him so much,” he said.

The fast bowler was troubled by a problematic back for which is underwent an operation. He was undergoing rehabilitation for the past three months and was looking forward to returning to competitive cricket through IPL.

However the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the league indefinitely and thus his return as well.

“I finally decided to get myself operated, and after completing the rehab in the past three months, I was really looking forward to playing for the Delhi Capitals this season,” the 31-year-old said.

After years of underachievement, Delhi Daredevils rechristened them as Delhi Capitals last season and after making a flurry of changes, relaunched their bid for a maiden IPL title.

Under captain Shreyas Iyer and coach Ricky Ponting, they performed admirably well, making it to the playoffs where they lost to CSK in the second qualifier.

Sharma is confident that the team has the right balance to win the title, whenever the league gets underway. “I think it is a huge opportunity for our team. We have a fantastic group of players with a very strong Indian core, and I believe our team has the right players in all departments who can help us in challenging for the trophy. So I feel our fans can expect huge things from the team,” he said.

He continued, “I’m still excited to represent the franchise. I feel it’s a young team with a solid Indian core, and I know most of the players here – like Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Harshal Patel – both on and off the field very well.”

He’s also aiming to pick on the brains of Australia legend Ponting. “It would also be a golden opportunity to work and learn from Ricky Ponting – all the players only have praises for him. I hope the team does exceedingly well when the IPL happens, and we can give the Delhi fans great joy,” he said.

The highly contagious virus has led to questions over the traditional practice of shining cricket ball with saliva. It’s also led to speculations the the authorities might legalise ball-tampering if the saliva does get banned.

Mohit says he won’t be much bothered but is keenly following the developments. “It will be interesting to see what decision is made. Every bowler has their personal choices in this matter. I don’t use a lot of saliva for shining the ball, in fact, these days umpires don’t let bowlers use too much saliva. I would be okay with using sweat as well to shinethe ball,” he said.