Riding the crest of a wave of success in the year gone by when he won the International Cricket Council’s Player of the Year award, Ashwin has signed a branding partnership with ITW Blitz, one of the leading cricket management groups, a deal that could make him the highest paid players in India.
Bhairav Shanth, co-founder and director of ITW Blitz, said on Friday his company was taking the best all-rounder in the ICC list on board with ‘at least 15 endorsements’, which could swell his earnings in excess of Rs 200 crore per year. Shanth did not divulge the figures but he said the 15 would be a ‘fresh start’ considering that Ashwin has a new price tag on his endorsements after the ICC award and the existing contracts could be under review.
Right now, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli are the biggest brands in cricket, the former Indian captain from Jharkhand still ahead on the strength of his past deals. The 2016 endorsement figures show Dhoni at $23 million (Rs 150 crore) as against Virat Kohli’s $18 million, though in the BCCI payment sheet the current captain earns more ($6.9 million as against $5.7 million).
Interestingly, retired cricketer Sachin Tendulkar still reportedly earns $16.6 million from endorsements, making him one of the hottest brands. It may be recalled it was Sachin Tendulkar who pioneered the endorsement revolution in cricket in the late 1990s when WorldTel offered a consourtium of sponsors for the master blaster for Rs 100 crore.