The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Young guns to feel ad heat

Mumbai, April 7: The Sachins and Souravs will not mind the board curb on endorsements too much, but the Dhonis and Yuvrajs will feel the pinch.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India today fixed a ceiling of three endorsements per player and barred sponsors from signing more than two cricketers together.

The move has turned the spotlight on big names like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, who have 11, 8 and 11 contracts. But the key point is, the new rule doesn’t apply to existing contracts.

These seniors, therefore, will not feel the heat until these contracts have run their course, by when they will be a little older and a step nearer retirement anyway.

For them the leash, coming after they have made their fortune from the game and its mass following, is rather like an innings declaration that comes after the batsman has completed his ton.

So, amid all the talk of the board getting tough on the seniors, it’s the young guns with most of their career lying ahead who lose out.

The board, of course, has abolished graded contracts —its own — which means the stalwarts will be paid the same as the just-arrived or upcoming. But this will hardly hurt the seniors, for the money is a pittance compared with endorsement fees.

For Sachin, though, hanging up his boots may be a lucrative option, if industry talk is to be believed. Most brands that have signed him are said to be looking to continue the association post-retirement —when he would be rid of the board curb.

“Brand Sachin is so strong, it will give returns even after his career is over,” said an official at ITC Sunfeast, whose contract with the star runs till 2014, as Adidas’s and Canon’s are valid till 2010 and 2009.

“The challenge for these companies is to keep his brand image alive… so a lot of effort will be put in to see that Sachin emerges unscathed,” an industry source said.

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