Let’s take a look at the richest Indian athletes
1 – Sachin Tendulkar
Net Worth – INR 1090 crore
Age – 48
The name says it all. Sachin Tendulkar is a former Indian cricketer who is considered as the benchmark for cricketing greatness. The “God of Cricket”, or the “Master Blaster”, is the highest scorer for Team India and in the history of cricket. He still holds the number one spot for most runs scored by an individual and is the only player to have ever scored one hundred centuries in International cricket. It was because of his consistency that he was part of the Indian team for such a long time and managed to play a lot of matches for which he was well paid too.
Tendulkar’s major source of income was through his cricketing journey and endorsements. In his long career which lasted for more than 20 years, he played 664 international games and was part of a lot of endorsement campaigns, the most famous being the Johnson & Johnson BAND-AID which he did in the year 1989 right after his debut. During the 2011 ICC Men’s World Cup, Sachin was featured in a Coca-Cola ad which offered him a contract worth INR 12-15 crore. He is also a proud co-owner of the ISL franchise Kerala Blasters and owns two hotels in his hometown (Mumbai). By the time he retired in 2012, Sachin had already made a ton of money and was listed by Forbes as India’s highest paid athlete.
2 – MS Dhoni
Net Worth – INR 767 crore
Age – 39
Undoubtedly one of the best cricketing brains we have ever witnessed, MS Dhoni is a former Indian captain under whom Indian managed to win all the major ICC Men’s trophies, including the ODI World Cup, the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy. Not only that, MS Dhoni has had great success in the Indian Premier league as well.
Dhoni made his debut against Bangladesh in 2004 and the rest, as they say, is history. He has had a successful career, with half of his earnings coming through TV commercials. Within six months of his international debut, he had bagged his first commercial ad with Karnataka Soaps & Detergents. In no time, he was also the face of TVS Motors, which was a long-term deal. In 2008, with IPL making its way into cricket, Dhoni signed his contract with the Chennai Super Kings for INR 6 crore, which was the franchise’s highest bid. Ten years later, CSK is still with Dhoni with an INR 15 crore-per-season contract, although he did have a two-year spell away from Chennai when he played for the Rising Pune Supergiant for the 2016 and 2017 IPL seasons.
In 2016, Dhoni launched his own brand, “Seven”, which reportedly grossed over INR 17 crore in the opening three months. Not only this, 2016 was the year when “The Untold Story” – MSD’s biopic – was released, with the late Sushant Singh Rajput playing the role of the former Indian captain. The film was the second highest grosser for that year and crossed the INR 200 crore mark at the box office.
Also Read – 10 Defining Moments of Dhoni’s Career
3 – Virat Kohli
Net Worth – INR 638 crore
Age – 32
The backbone of the Indian cricket team, this 32-year-old has proved to be a revelation for Indian cricket. Virat Kohli is considered as one of the best batters not only in India, but worldwide. Now the captain of the Indian men’s cricket team in all formats, this Delhi boy started bursting on to the scene after winning the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup as captain of India’s U19 side. He then made his senior International debut in ODI format against Sri Lanka in 2008 and was also selected for the 2011 World Cup squad. His contribution of 35 runs in the 2011 WC Final against Sri Lanka is still considered as a crucial knock which led India to the coveted trophy.
In IPL, he was picked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the inaugural season on a contract worth INR 12 lakh. Now, he takes a hefty pay-check of INR 17 crore for leading the side. Virat Kohli is officially recognised as a Grade A+ player by the BCCI and earns a salary of INR 7 crore every year. In 2017, he became the brand ambassador for MPL (Mobile Premier League) by signing a contract worth INR 12 crore for a year. He owns many luxury cars and has his own clothing brand, Wrogn. Not only this, Kohli, famously a foodie, also owns a few restaurants in Delhi – Nueva and One8 Commune.
4 – Sourav Ganguly
Net Worth – INR 584 crore
Age – 48
A former Indian captain and now the BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly made his ODI debut in International cricket in 1992. He got his Test cap in the year 1996. In 2000, Ganguly got the captaincy for Team India right after Sachin Tendulkar resigned from the role. In 2003, India reached the final of the ICC Men’s World Cup under Ganguly’s captaincy. He retired from International cricket in 2008 but continued playing in the IPL till 2012.
Sourav Ganguly earns a huge amount by endorsing JSW Cement, Ajanta Shoes, My11 Circle, Tata Tetley, Essilor Lens and Senco Gold. He earns a salary of INR 5 crore per year from the BCCI and is also the co-owner of an Indian Super league team – ATK Football Club. Furthermore, he is also a member of IPL’s governing council.
5 – Virender Sehwag
Net Worth – INR 286 crore
Age – 42
Virender Sehwag started his career for Team India in 1999. He was known as the “Nawab of Najafgarh”. This Delhi boy holds the record for scoring the highest number of runs for India in a Test game which was also the fastest triple century in the history of International cricket. He was also the captain of Team India for a brief period. In 2007, Sehwag was dropped from the team but was reinstated in 2009 as he re-established himself as one of the best ODI batters. In 2015, he retired from International cricket.
Sehwag, in his long cricketing career, has been a part of a lot of endorsements, including Boost, Adidas, Reebok and Hero Honda, earning a good sum of money in the process. He is also the owner of Sehwag International School, which is based in Silani Panakeso, Haryana. He has also opened Sehwag Cricket Academy with an aim to give budding cricketers a platform. His other sources of income are commentary and an active social media profile.
6 – Yuvraj Singh
Net Worth – INR 255 crore
Age – 39
Yuvraj Singh is a former Indian International player. A complete all-rounder, he was the Man of the Tournament at the ICC Men’s World Cup in 2011. He made his debut in 2003 for India at his home ground in Mohali. He was one of the greatest middle-order batters India ever had. Known for his 6 sixes in an over, which he scored against Stuart Broad in the 2007 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Yuvraj has been a champion both on and off the field. He has had his share of ups and downs as he was diagnosed with cancer at the peak of his career. He still managed to play a few matches after that and had a decent comeback but retired from International cricket in 2019.
Yuvraj Singh has been a part of a lot of endorsements, including EasyDiner and Revital. He was officially recognised as a Grade B cricketer by the BCCI. During the 2014 IPL, he signed a contract worth INR 14 crore with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. In 2015, he was a part of the Delhi Daredevils side and earned INR 16 crore for the season.
7 – Sunil Gavaskar
Net Worth – INR 220 crore
Age – 71
Sunil Gavaskar is a former Indian cricketer and now a cricket commentator. He was a revelation for Indian cricket in the ‘70s when he made his debut against the West Indies in 1971. He became the first ever Test cricketer to score 10,000+ runs. He played a crucial role in the 1983 World Cup, which India won. Since his retirement, Gavaskar has served as the Chairman of ICC’s Cricket Committee. He is a great orator and a cricket analyst as well.
Gavaskar earned most of his income by playing a number of matches between 1971-1987. He is now heard commentating in almost every Team India and IPL game. The Indian cricket legend is also credited for setting up India’s first sports management company, Professional Management Group (PMG), in 1985. It hosts popular sports awards shows such as the annual CEAT Awards in Mumbai.
8 – Kapil Dev
Net Worth – INR 220 crore
Age – 62
India’s 1983 World Cup winning captain, Kapil Dev is one of the most talented players India has ever seen. He was an asset for the team – a match winner, who helped Indian cricket broaden its horizons. He is the only player to score more than 5000 runs and pick up 400+ wickets in Test. In his 16 years of career (1978-1994), he broke a number of records. He’s now a commentator and a cricket expert.
Kapil Dev is one of the few cricketers from the bygone era who made a big chunk of his income through advertisements. He was the face of Palmolive shaving cream and was a part of the ad campaigns of the chocolate milk powder brand, Boost. He now gets a fair share of commentary roles in the IPL and International matches. The former Indian all-rounder has a monthly salary of more than INR 1 crore and is the owner of a restaurant and a hotel in Chandigarh.
9 – Suresh Raina
Net Worth – INR 185 crore
Age – 34
Suresh Raina was a middle-order batter for Team India and scored a lot of runs, but what made him different from others was his fielding ability. He made his debut in 2005 and got out on 0 in the first match but made his way into the side through his fielding. He is considered as one of the greatest players in T20 cricket and was the first player to score a hundred in the IPL.
Raina was placed under Grade C category and his yearly contract with BCCI was worth INR 1 crore per year. Other than that, he earned INR 15 lakh per test match, INR 6 lakh per ODI, and INR 3 lakh per T20I game from the BCCI. Since 2018, he has been earning INR 11 crore for an IPL season playing for the CSK side.
10 – Gautam Gambhir
Net Worth – INR 147 crore
Age – 39
A former Indian opener batter and now a politician, Gautam Gambhir was a left-handed batter from New Delhi. He made his debut for Team India in 2003 in an ODI against Bangladesh. He’s famous for his crucial innings in the 2007 Men’s T20 World Cup and the 2011 Men’s ODI World Cup, both of which India won. Along with Sehwag, Gambhir made a lethal opening combination for India at one point. Gambhir started his IPL career with the Delhi Daredevils in 2008 and later in 2011 was shifted to the Kolkata Knight Riders. In 2012, KKR won their first IPL trophy under Gautam Gambhir’s captaincy. His leadership qualities paved the way for him to become a politician for the Bhartiya Janata Party.
Gambhir’s estimated salary in 2016 was INR 10 crore just through playing cricket. Other than that, he endorsed brands like Pepsi while playing in the IPL. This Padma Shri winner now has an annual salary of INR 36 lakh as a Member of Parliament. After retiring in 2018 from all forms of cricket, a major chunk of Gambhir’s income comes from being a politician and a cricket expert.