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Harsh Goenka wants Shubman Gill to bat for CEAT, will MRF play ball?

Gill, one of the heroes of India's Test series win in Australia, sported a blank bat in his innings of 91

January 20, 2021 / 04:14 PM IST
Image: Instagram/indiancricketteam

Image: Instagram/indiancricketteam

Giving his 'conclusions' after the end of a Test series that India famously won in Australia on January 19, RPG Enterprises Chairman Harsh Goenka tweeted, "Shubman Gill deserves the CEAT bat again."

CEAT, the subsidiary of the Group, may claim to have a 'right of first refusal' over Gill, given that the tyre brand signed a bat endorsement deal with the young batsman in 2018. Gill, then a part of India's U-19 team, was seen as a rising star, and received the ICC World Cup player of the tournament award in the same year.

The star has now risen. And, CEAT will have to face competition from industry peer MRF and other brands, who will be lining up for an innings with the batsman.

The opening batsman was the fourth-highest run scorer for the team in the four-match test series. This included a 91-run innings on the final day of the last test, a knock that played a crucial role in India becoming the first Asian country to defeat the Australians at Gabba.

"The way @RealShubmanGill batted today he definitely deserved a century- but I’m sure there are many that lie ahead in his future. Amazing talent and more importantly has the mental strength to handle pressure," said VVS Laxman, the batting great who entered legend books after his knock of 281 against the Australians in 2001.

Similar praise was in store from other cricketing greats such as Virender Sehwag and the game's pundits, including commentator Harsha Bhogle. The 21-year-old is popular too. #ShubmanGill was trending across social media sites as India marched towards victory on the cricket field.

The talent and his exploits prompted New Zealand cricketer Jimmy Neeshan to quip, "I don’t think Shubman will have a blank bat for long," on Twitter. In fact, debate soon started, which company will get to stamp its brand on Gill's bat.

ipl 2019, kxip vs kkr, shubman gill innings

"So...which way is it heading? MRF or CEAT? Of course, I’m talking about Shubman’s bat sponsor. It’s almost preposterous to see no sticker on his bat," said former batsman Aakash Chopra.

Goenka promptly replied, "Shubman had a contract with CEAT. He opted out this year to tie up with I think Yuvraj Singh’s brand. He is always welcome back."

Rightly so, during the recent edition of Indian Premier League, Gill had sported Singh's brand YouWeCan. The sticker featured in the Test series too, but wasn't visible in the last match, with the young batsman sporting a blank bat. Is he up for a new endorsement?

If he does, brand experts expect a competition.

Image: Instagram/shubmangill Image: Instagram/shubmangill

"Bat deals are always a big deal! They signal that a batsman has arrived in the big league of hitters. The Goenka offer to Gill signals acknowledgement that many many more runs are likely to flow from the players’ blade and he could be anchoring many famous innings in the future," says Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Mogae Media, an advertising agency.

"Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid ... all had bat branding deals. Virat Kohli’s MRF deal is a big one too. Gill will, if he signs the bat deal, join all these greats. The deal could be about Rs 1-2 crore a year. Virat’s is about Rs 5 crore a year," added Goyal.

Apart from the India cricket captain, batsman Shikhar Dhawan also carries the MRF logo on his bat. For CEAT, Rohit Sharma (who is said to be getting Rs 3 crore a year) and stand-in captain for the Australia series, Ajinkya Rahane, do the batting. Whom will Gill join?

It may not be just a two-way race. Rahul Dravid used to sport the Britannia logo on his bat, and Yuvraj Singh had the Hero Honda sticker. With Gill having now debuted for India in both ODI and Test formats, and a popular player in the IPL circuit too, the waiting line of brands could be a long one.

Prince Mathews Thomas
Prince Mathews Thomas heads the corporate bureau of Moneycontrol. He has been covering the business world for 16 years, having worked in The Hindu Business Line, Forbes India, Dow Jones Newswires, The Economic Times, Business Standard and The Week. A Chevening scholar, Prince has also authored The Consolidators, a book on second generation entrepreneurs.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Jan 20, 2021 01:52 pm