Indian cricket captain M S Dhoni, who inspired the country to its first ODI World Cup title in 28 years, has been ranked above US President Barack Obama and global soccer icon Lionel Messi in Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world for 2010.
Dhoni, ranked 52nd in the chart, was the only Indian sportsperson to make the list. The other Indians named were Mukesh Ambani (No. 61), V S Ramachandran (79), Azim Premji (88) and Aruna Roy (89). While Obama was ranked No. 86, Messi followed at No. 87. The list was topped by Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who became the ‘spokesman for a revolution’ in Egypt.
The 29-year-old Dhoni, who has 2,925 runs in 54 Tests and 6,049 runs in 186 one-dayers, is the most successful Indian captain, under whom the team also won the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in 2007. The magazine described Dhoni as “captain fantastic”. “Dhoni is now universally acknowledged as India’s best captain ever. He’s also its most likeable, exuding both cool confidence and down-to-earth humility.
As astonishing as Dhoni’s talent is his background. Indian success stories are usually associated with pedigree, connections and power. Dhoni, from a small-town family of modest means, had none of these, but he’s shown India that you can make it with only one thing: excellence,” read the accompanying profile penned by noted author Chetan Bhagat. “Dhoni doesn’t just lead a cricket team; he’s also India’s captain of hope. And he didn’t just win India the World Cup, he also taught India how to win.”
Dhoni is only the second Indian sportsman after Sachin Tendulkar to make the prestigious list. The other celebrities on the list are Hillary Clinton (43), Mark Zuckerberg (6), and Julian Assange (9). TOI