The first-ever season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) is set to kick off next month. With the conclusion of the auction, teams will prepare their best possible elevens to take the field. While some players went for massive sums as expected before the auction began, there were also a few underwhelming responses for star players.
Considering the amount paid by franchises for the players, their form in-game, their social media presence, and their ability to appear as a marketing potential, brands will be looking to line up some of the athletes for potential sponsorship deals.
Expectations from certain athletes will be incredibly high moving into this tournament. In this article, we take a look at the top five Indian players who could be handy endorsers for the brands.
Smriti Mandhana is currently the biggest name in Indian women’s cricket and is easily among the top names on the international stage. The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) picked her up at the auction for a smashing ₹3.4 crore. The left-handed opener is already being compared to the likes of Virat Kohli, who has been an ever-present fixture in the RCB set-up.
Apart from the expectations from her on the cricketing front, Mandhana also has a stunning social media presence. A whopping 7.1 million followers on Instagram put her ahead of her compatriots Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues in terms of social media presence. She also has close to a million followers on Twitter and about seven million followers on Facebook. Several brands have made the most of Mandhana’s high stocks. She was also popular for her talk show with close friend Jemimah Rodrigues and is no stranger to appearances on Youtube videos.
Mandhana is in partnership with several brands, including South Korean automaker Hyundai. Among the other brands she has worked with or is currently working with include: Budweiser, Herbalife Nutrition, Hero Motocorp, Spektacom Technology and Red bull. Mandhana frequently adds posts in relation to her endorsement deals.
India’s #3 in the batting order at the ongoing T20I World Cup is also a good prospect for brands in the coming months and years. Rodrigues has broken into the Indian side once again and looks to have cemented her spot by scoring big in India’s opener against Pakistan at the World Cup.
The Delhi Capitals picked up the classy right-handed batter in the WPL auction for a stunning ₹2.2 crore, which was not surprising given her heroics against Pakistan just a day before.
Rodrigues also has a good social media presence and is often spotted making videos with her close friend Smriti Mandhana. She has close to a million followers on Instagram, just over 100,000 followers on Twitter, and 282,000 followers on Facebook. Apart from a reasonable social media following, Rodrigues also looks very comfortable making short videos and appears on podcasts and talk shows, which makes her a popular personality in the women’s cricket community.
Rodrigues, too, has been associated with some noteworthy brands in the past, including Hyundai, Gillette, Hero, Nike, Boost and Dream11 among many others.
Brands do not need to look any further than Team India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who has had a successful career and an incredibly good social media presence. Currently, Kaur is chasing her maiden T20I World Cup win and will later be an important asset to the Mumbai Indians during the inaugural WPL season.
Kaur is an explosive batter in the shortest format and is quite handy with her off-spinners in case the side needs them. She was picked up by the Mumbai Indians at the WPL auction for ₹1.8 crore.
Kaur keeps her social media updated by posting regularly nearly every other day on Instagram. She has close to two million followers on the platform and nearly 500,000 followers on Twitter. Although she has nearly three million Facebook followers, her presence on the platform has seen a dip in the last couple of months.
Much like her other compatriots on this list, Kaur has been associated with some big brands. One major announcement in terms of her sponsorships recently came in the form of German sportswear brand Puma. Apart from this deal, Kaur has also been associated with brands such as Boost, Blenders Pride, ICICI Bank and MyMaster11.
Shafali Verma has already added a World Cup to her kitty by winning the ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup. She’s now looking to double her tally this year by helping her side win the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. Verma made her mark a couple of years ago but is still very young and has a long way to go.
Brands can look for opportunities to work with one of the most explosive opening batters in the women’s game. Unsurprisingly, Verma was sold for a massive ₹2 crore to the Delhi Capitals during the WPL auction. She will undoubtedly be in contention for the most runs in the tournament, and her explosive batting prowess will give her team the much-needed starts in the shortest format of the game.
Verma is also fairly active on social media and has a good following. She’s got about 354,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 100,000 of them on Twitter.
Currently, the youngster works in partnership with Bank of Baroda, Hyundai India and Boost. Indeed, brands ought to be looking to snap up a deal with the future star of Indian women’s cricket.
Renuka Singh Thakur
Renuka Singh Thakur has become integral to Team India’s white-ball setup. Her prominence as a fast bowler and a key component of any side shone through when the RCB picked her up for ₹1.5 crore during the WPL auction.
Thakur is also a part of the current T20 World Cup set-up and will be looking to have a successful campaign before the WPL kicks into action next one. Being a fairly new name, not many brands would be aware of the importance of Thakur in this Indian side, but there is certainly potential to strike deals.
Thakur is also reasonably active on social media and has been involved with prominent brands. She has about 176,000 followers on Instagram, and although she fails to create a presence on Twitter, she does endorse her brands through Instagram.
Thakur has worked with brands like Hyundai and BIBA. Other brands undoubtedly have the potential to crack some good deals with her.