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Brands Must Look at Rishabh Pant Seriously: Devesh Gupta

Indian cricket is off to a historic start in 2019 with Captain Virat Kohli leading the side to its first ever test series win in Australia. I remember the days when Indian side collapsed like a pack of cards of Australian soil in late 90s and it was nothing less than a humiliation. Today, when I read the headlines, my head is held high as the jinx is broken and it is established that Indian team can defeat any cricket playing nation on their turf.

While Kohli has once again proven that aggression is working for Indian side but what caught my attention during this series was the making of a new brand endorser in the team - Rishabh Pant.

The 21-year-old wicket keeper batsmen has all the right elements for being a darling of masses and as a result for brands too. He brings an element of virality that goes beyond the game and the field and is a feature that is not very common.

Good Track Record

Let us begin with an analysis of Pant’s career across different formats of the game. He began with IPL in Delhi Capitals team in 2016 and has been continuously retained by them for three seasons. While he is no Chris Gayle known for striking ball out of park, but audience like him. Pant has scored over 1200+ runs in 38 matches and has maintained a good strike rate. He has not played many ODI’s or T20’s but his Test record is good with nearly 700 runs in 15 innings including two centuries, one of which is the recent unbeaten 159 run knock in the third test against Aussies. Pant stole the social banter during the recent test series with Australia.

Right Attitude

During the third test Pant got interlocked with Australian skipper and wicket keeper Tim Paine. Initially, Paine teased him about Dhoni getting back into side and Pant could enjoy vacationing in Australia or even babysit his kids while he goes out for movie with wife. Next day, Pant replied back by addressing Paine as temporary captain who is only good at talking. All this healthy banter got recorded at stump mics and went viral. Indian audiences loved this attitude of Pant giving back at the Aussies in a healthy manner as the latter have been known for sledging during the game for decades and the former for only being nice.

Competitive On-field & Friendly off Field

On January 1, Pant was clicked with Tim Paine's wife and kids, and ICC posted a tweet which is related to the banter that took place between Pant and Australian captain Tim Paine during the third Test at the MCG.

As a result, Pant earned himself a reputation of a full-time cricketer and part time babysitter. The gesture touched the Indian cricket fans and people lauded Pant. The incident created a very positive image of the young cricketer in the minds of people.

A couple of days ago, Paine’s wife has again shared an Instagram story asking for Pant’s babysitting services.

Fan Following & Trending

Indian audiences across the world have expressed love for him. A group has also coined a song on Pant, which has gone viral.

The cherry on the cake came when Ricky Pointing, former Australian skipper and a legendary cricketer compared him with another Australian player – Adam Gilchrist, who was a star player during his days and is known till date.

The cricketer is already trending, here are some of the tweets.

As per the Google Trends report, there has been a sudden spike in discussions around Pant especially ahead of the fourth test with Australia.

Hi social media following is also growing fast.

Etched His Name in History

There are several firsts associated with Pant even at this stage in his carrier. For example, Rishabh Pant is the first wicketkeeper from Asia to score over 200 runs and affect 20 dismissals in a Test series. He is also the first Indian keeper to score a Test century in Australia. Pant is also the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a 150+ score in Test cricket away from home. This was Pant’s second century away from home making him the first Indian wicketkeeper to score more than one century outside India. With centuries in England and Australia, Pant became only the 2nd wicketkeeper in Test history to score hundreds as a visiting player in both England and Australia.

Right time to Ink a Contract

Pant is just over 21 years old and has an entire career ahead of him. At present, he is no Dhoni or Kohli and definitely needs time to achieve that kind of feat but he has carved a space for himself. Currently, he is not very visible on endorsements and is also not an A-lister cricketer like Kohli, so the signing cost for Pant would not be that high. Pant definitely cuts across the audiences and would be an interesting association at this time given the virality associated with him.

In my opinion, Pant brings all the necessary elements that a brand would expect from its endorser. It would not be a surprise if a few brands are already in process of cutting a deal with him and we see him pleasing the audiences to buy a product.

(The article is written by Devesh Gupta, Head of Corporate Communications, DCMN India).

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