MRF has a very well-thought-out strategy of sponsoring only the world’s greatest batsmen and a few extremely promising young talents. The word ‘genius’ in the bat sticker design signifies two things – one the batsman using MRF bat is a genius at and two, MRF is a genius at doing its work. MRF has sponsored bats for batting legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Steve Waugh and Brian Lara. The maestro had a 10-year-long run with the brand and scored many landmark innings with the bat. It was only in 2009 that Sachin was associated with Adidas. Tendulkar had also been associated with Adidas for over a decade as its brand ambassador in apparels and sports gear segment. It was with Adidas when he had scored his iconic double century. It is also interesting to know that the Adidas bat was auctioned in the Lords stadium and was sold for a whopping 3,400 pounds. Later the bat also fetched a staggering price of Rs. 42 Lakh at a sports auction where personal items were donated by the top 25 sportsmen from the country and overseas.
The ‘Wall’ of Indian cricket Rahul Dravid is widely known for his iconic Pull Shot. The player in the initial days of his career had developed a ‘Chocolate Boy’ type image and was a ladies man for a long time. The ‘Wall’ was known for his iconic Britannia bat which he had played with for a long time. Sponsoring cricket bats was a fresh marketing strategy in the 1990s and not many had dared to use it to improve brand recognition and thus sales. Britannia decided to go ahead with it and started a full-fledged bat sponsorship campaign on boarding the goliaths of Indian batting – Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman.
This idea of tapping in on Indian audience’s new love for watching its favorite game on TV paid off for the food giant Britannia and gave the brand great visibility and recognition. The Bat was also most loved by Dravid Fans and just like MRF even the Britannia Bat was among the wishlist for many fans. It was only in the last phase of his career that the player had used the SG bat for his game.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Former India Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of the favorite cricketers of the current generation and is considered to be on of the greatest captain’s the team has ever had. He is the man who led India to victory in World T20 championship in 2008 and the ICC cricket world cup in 2011. Dhoni is one such player who has switched bats quote often in his career, in the initial stages of his career he sponsored by Reebok which created quote a trend among fans and was a rage among the fans.
Reebok was the same bat which Dhoni had used to hit the phenomenal six which won India the World Cup in 2011. It was only in 2013 when Dhoni had switched to Spartan which had sponsored Dhoni for a whooping 18-20 crores. In 2019 Other than Spartan, Dhoni has played with bats of SS and BAS (Beat All Sports) and SS’ Sunridges.
The Indian Skipper Virat Kohli has also been a player who had switched bats in his career. The player had initially used Nike Bats and it was only in 2016 that the player was seen using MRF. It was back when nearly half the Indian cricket team has been left in the lurch without a bat advertiser, as the world’s largest sportswear firm Nike has pulled out of sponsorship for them.
The cricketer who who is currently No 1 in the batsmen list has a huge fan following in the country. It was back in 2017 when the batsmen had renewed his bat contract with MRF for 8 year period for a whooping 100 crores. MRF is keen on securing Kohli for a long term the deal with MRF makes India’s cricket captain the only athlete in the country to have two .`100 crore-plus deals.
The ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma has been one of the most sought after players in the current generation. Rohit Sharma had also multiple sponsors in his career. Rohit had started his career with TON and the had moved to Adidas for a long time and had later switched to MRF .
It was in 2015 when the Tyre-makers Ceat has inked a three year bat endorsement deal with cricketer Rohit Sharma. Sharma, who is the first player to score two double- centuries in the history ODIs, is currently seen playing with a bat displaying Ceat insignia in all formats of the game.