India's brilliant showing in the Champions Trophy has helped turn the spotlight away from the spot-fixing scandal and skipper MS Dhoni's conflict of interest due to links with a sports management company.
Now, West Indies great Brian Lara has showered praise on Dhoni's leadership and his calm demeanor on the field. Speaking at an event on Thursday, Lara picked the India captain among a small band of players whom he feels are true leaders in the game.
"I spoke to Dwayne Bravo about Dhoni, how he was as a leader while they played together for CSK. He told me one of his key strengths is that he is a great listener. Bravo told me how he sets goals but always looks for ideas and commitment from his players," Lara said.
The former WI skipper added: "A leader for me is not necessarily a captain wearing the arm band. It is someone who gets his hands dirty and shows true leadership."
Dhoni led India to the 2011 World Cup but subsequent Test series routs in England and Australia saw demands for his sacking. The 4-0 rout of the Aussies at home and the current run in the CT has eased the pressure on him.
Lara said: "India has achieved a lot in the past few years under Dhoni's leadership. The Champions Trophy is the only trophy missing from India’s cabinet now," Lara said. He felt the credit for India's dominance should go to the youngsters.
"The seniors have given a lot for the youngsters to emulate and they seem to be living up to the standards set by veterans. Despite the issues back home, the team have put a smile on their countrymen’s faces."