In the most recently released list of the top earning sportsmen, there is finally a cricketer in the mix. The time is not far when there will be many more players in that list.
No. 1: Virat Kohli - Income in 2020: $24 million
The India captain has an A+ Grade Contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India. This is the highest category. On top of this he has been with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League from the early stages of the tournament.
Outside of the cricket he plays, Kohli leads when it comes to endorsements. From international brands such as PepsiCo and Puma, Audi and Tissot to domestic giants, Kohli has the best of the best lining up to have him as the fact of their products.
No. 2: Mahendra Singh Dhoni - Income in 2020: $21.7 million
He may have retired from international cricket and struggled to power the Chennai Super Kings in the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League but Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s star value and brand power has not yet waned.
While he is down from a career high of No. 25 in the Forbes list, which he achieved in 2014, Dhoni still commanded an A contract from the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and Rs 15 crore from the Chennai Super Kings. Add to this his association with brands such as Reebok, TVS, and Dream XI and brand Dhoni was still flying high.
No. 3: Chris Gayle - Income in 2020: $7.5 million
The man known as the Universe Boss for his success in Twenty20 leagues around the world, from the Indian Premier League to the Big Bash League to other tournaments home and away, may not be close to Kohli or Dhoni in earnings, but when you consider the relative size and market of his home country, Jamaica, it is fair to say he has punched well above his weight.
Gayle provides the glitz, glamour and carefree brand association that does not come with Indian cricketers and his party lifestyle is legendary to this day. Past 40, he is still lighting up cricket tournaments in his inimitable style and this is why the likes of CricTribune, Spartan Sports and Attitude continue to associate with him to reach out to their target audience.
No. 4: AB de Villiers - Income in 2020: $6.4 million
AB de Villiers does not play for South Africa any longer, but every time a major global limited overs tournament, such as the World Cup of the International Cricket Council World Twenty20 comes around the chorus begins globally, entreating the man to come out of retirement. Such is the affection in which fans hold de Villiers and the respect he commands among opposition bowlers. de Villiers has also never been involved in form of controversy and his clean image makes him a sure shot in mentoring roles in Twenty20 leagues and as a poster boy for brands such as MRF, Audi and Montblanc.
No. 5: Virender Sehwag - Income in 2020: $6.1 million
It has been years since Virender Sehwag last played for India but, incredibly, he has stayed in the limelight and the public eye constantly, nevertheless. Known for his attacking batsmanship at the top of the order and clever off spin, Sehwag has become even more famous for bringing a straight talker and having a sense of humor that appeals to a wide audience. Through this he has kept busy in commentary boxes and endorsing brands such as Adidas, JK Cement, Boost and Hero.