'It is good feeling'
India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who inspired the country to its first World Cup title in 28 years, found himself ranked above global football icon Lionel Messi and US President Barack Obama in the Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world for the year 2010.
Time's description of the player from Ranchi, penned by eminent author Chetan Bhagat, describes Dhoni as someone who is now universally acknowledged as India's best cricket captain ever.
"It is good feeling," admitted Dhoni, ahead of Chennai Super Kings' match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium on Friday.
"But I have to try and see if it is true or not, and then prove if I deserve it or not," he added.
Image: MS Dhoni
Only Indian sportsperson to make the list
Dhoni, ranked 52nd in the chart, is the only Indian sportsperson to make the list, which also has four of his compatriots in 'Titan of Industry' Mukesh Ambani (61), 'Brain mapper' VS Ramachandran (79), philanthropist Azim Premji (88) and 'Change agent' Aruna Roy (89).
Dhoni found himself way above Messi, who was just below Obama at 87th spot in a list topped by Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who became the 'Spokesman for a Revolution' in Egypt.
The 29-year-old Dhoni, who has 2925 runs in 54 Tests and 6049 runs in 186 one-dayers, is the most successful Indian cricket captain under whom the team also won the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in 2007.
Image: MS Dhoni
Dhoni, the highest-ranked Indian in the latest Time Magazine 100, is only the second Indian sportsman after Sachin Tendulkar to make the prestigious list.
The others global celebrities included in the list are US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is incidentally ranked higher than Obama at 43rd, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (6), and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (9).
Image: Sachin Tendulkar