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Iím honoured, happy: Dhoni

Calcutta: While Chandu Borde has barely had time to take a break from interviews ó thrust, after all, into the limelight by a Board which has been fumbling on every issue ó Mahendra Singh Dhoni has opted to keep a low profile.

Team Indiaís newest vice-captain (in the ODIs, that is) remained incommunicado on the day the senior national selectors gave him a promotion. It wasnít much different on the morning-after, Wednes- day.

Dhoni, however, did send a message to The Telegraph before leaving New Delhi for Bangalore: ďIím honoured at being made the vice-captain... Iím very happy... Iím aware of the responsibilities which lie ahead and hope to justify the immense faith shown in me by the selectors...Ē

The 25-year-old has got the No.2 job even though his idol and senior-most pro Sachin Tendulkar is in the squad. Itís an awesome step from the Dilip Vengsarkar-headed selection committee.

Indeed, at the international level, Dhoni hasnít been around for more than two-and-a-half years.

Vengsarkar and his colleagues (Venkatapathi Raju, Bhupinder Singh, Sanjay Jagdale and Ranjib Biswal) havenít been bound by convention and Dhoniís elevation is another example of being able to think boldly.

As important, the committeeís agenda has been healthy, much in contrast to what was encouraged by Vengsarkarís predecessor ó Kiran More.

A feature of Dhoniís meteoric rise is that his feet have never left the ground. Itís one quality which will surely hold Ranchiís favourite son in excellent stead.

As announced on Tuesday, Dhoni is Rahul Dravidís deputy in the next five ODIs ó one versus Ireland, three against South Africa and one versus Pakistan.

And, as mentioned in these columns, Dhoniís tipped to lead India in the forthcoming Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa.

THE recent NO. 2 MEN

ODIs in SA: Virender Sehwag

Tests in SA: V.V.S. Laxman

ODIs vs WI: Sachin Tendulkar

ODIs vs SL: Sachin Tendulkar

World Cup: Sachin Tendulkar

ODIs in Bangla: Nobody

Tests in Bangla: Sachin Tendulkar*

ODIs in Ireland, Scotland: M.S.Dhoni

Tests in England: Sachin Tendulkar

Note: Named vice-captain only on the eve of the series...

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