Shami All Set To Take Brands By Storm

Last month, Puma roped in Shami as its brand ambassador, joining the likes of Virat Kohli and Usain Bolt on its roster.

Four months ago, Mohammed Shami walked out of a hair restoration clinic in Gurugram grinning ear to ear. India’s ace fast bowler had finally triumphed over his biggest fear — male pattern baldness.

With an envious hairline, and a thick mop of hair, Shami was now ready to take on the brand endorsement circuit by storm.

Or so it seemed.

If the bevy of sponsors didn’t make a beeline to sign him up back then, they would surely be doing so now. Talent management firms spoken to say they are already looking at him with high interest.

Shami has been an irresistible force in World Cup 2023.

Gliding in to crease in his typical silky-smooth run-up, and with that God-gifted seam position, Shami has married skill, experience and hard work to make quite a few batsmen look like novices in this showpiece cricketing event.

From Ben Stokes in Lucknow to Angelo Mathews in Mumbai, few have escaped Shami’s dextrous throws.

At the World Cup semi final against New Zealand, Shami was in the thick of action once again.

The 33 year old picked up an astonishing seven wickets to extinguish the last ounce of a Kiwi comeback.

In doing so, he became the first Indian bowler to pick seven wickets in ODIs.

Childhood coach Mohammed Badruddin demystifies Shami’s skillset to elucidate the reasons for his stupendous success in this World Cup.

“It’s all in those wrists,” Badruddin tells Business Standard.

“The reason he has been successful is because he releases the ball late, and does not rush through his action. This helps him get that late swing off the track,” he explains.

“With those malleable wrists, he makes subtle changes, to bowl either inswing or outswing, and the batsmen are not able to pick them.”

Badruddin says that such is Shami’s command over his craft that he can bowl with that perfect seam presentation for hours.

“He called me the other day, and he said, ‘World Cup toh jeetna hi hain (We have to win the World Cup)’,” Badruddin adds.

Will a World Cup title, bagful of wickets, and a head full of hair catapult Shami’s brand equity?

Advertisers and brand campaigners reckon the fast bowler’s stock could rise substantially and be at par with Jasprit Bumrah, the outlier in a country where batters typically command high brand value.

“Given his performance in this World Cup, Shami will surely see an uptick as far as his brand value and endorsement deals are concerned. But he will continue to pale in comparison to a Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma,” Samit Sinha, managing partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting, says.

Sinha points out the inherent bias endorsers have over batters.

“Batters are seen as somewhat more gladiatorial and more glamorous than bowlers,” he says. “Which is why you see that even after Anil Kumble got 10 wickets in a Test match against Pakistan in 1999, he didn’t quite attain the status of Sachin Tendulkar as a brand.”

Kunal Lalani, managing director, Crayons Advertising, however, notes that Shami was the real hero for India at this marquee ICC event.

“His stocks will rise through the charts. Make no mistake about it. I think he will go neck and neck with Bumrah, who occupies the top spot among Indian bowlers,” Lalani adds.

From being subjected to a torrent of online abuse after India’s loss to Pakistan at the 2021 World T20, to sporadic news reports of domestic problems with former wife Hasin Jahan, Shami’s rise in popularity comes on the back of his exploits on the cricket field.

Last month, Puma roped in Shami as its brand ambassador, joining the likes of his teammate Kohli and sprinter Usain Bolt on its roster.

Expect more endorsers to be queuing up to sign Shami.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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