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Glad tidings for birthday boy

Dhoni, the one-day vice-captain, is tipped to be the man in charge when the team goes to South Africa this September, reports Rohit Mahajan.

cricket Updated: Jul 09, 2007 02:43 IST

Minutes after the draw of stumps on Saturday, the Indian dressing room was a sight to behold among cricketing gear, lying in between piles of pads and bats and gloves, was confetti of a thousand colours.

There were signs of celebration all around: it was party time, the two brown cakes on the table were for birthday boy Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Moments after being cheered on completing 26 years of existence, Dhoni was beaming with pleasure. He accepted the greeting with a big grin, reciprocating with an offer of a piece of the cake. He was persuaded to come down to the fans and the media, the cake followed on a platter.

Dhoni proceeded to walk through a row of fans. They called out to their hero, he stopped and signed autograph books and posed for photographs with them.

The celebration was timely, for Dhoni might be on the way to inheriting the mantle that seems to be kept aside for him. The news in the morning from India was that the Big Three of Indian cricket Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly had decided they were not going to be part of the action at the Twenty20 World Cup in September.

Dhoni, the one-day vice-captain, is tipped to be the man in charge when the team goes to South Africa this September.

Dhoni, though, did not wish to be drawn into speculation about the future. Dravid, asked about what the strategy was for the night two birthdays in two days, Sunday was Ganguly's parried the question. "You'd have to ask the manager what his plans are," he said, and added that he would welcome all suggestions.

The Indian 'keeper would probably be thankful he turned 26 on Saturday, not Sunday - getting only five on a track that most others made good use of, would have definitely pooped the party.

On Saturday at least, Dhoni was in the happy position of a man who had his cake and ate it too what's more, the crowd ate a bit of it too!