Often cricketers of immense brand value are either a product of arriving just at the opportune moment in time or being so radically different that they become the zeitgeist. Both are attributes that sit quite well with brands and the free market. India has had its fair share of players who were held in high regards by their fans, with their popularity fetching them even more fame and wealth.
Farokkh Engineer was a breath of fresh air when a young nation was finding its feet. While Sunil Gavaskar was the country's first world-class run machine, Kapil Dev was the genuine all-rounder India craved for ever. Sachin Tendulkar was the thrilling new face of liberalisation and Rahul Dravid was the dependable guy next-door. Even as MS Dhoni has been the pioneer unfazed by pressure, Virat Kohli will go down as the braggadocio defining mascot of an Indian milieu that has tasted success and demands more.
All have given something that was out-of-the-box, something that you didn't know you wanted until you saw it in live action. Undoubtedly, brand value is a game of perceptions, which can be fickle and fluctuate fortunes like a yo-yo. But if the charm is witnessed often enough, it becomes a habit that you can't shake off, a face you can't say no to. And that is a quality few have had or will have. Let's look at seven of them in the order of their respective debuts.
#7 Farokh Engineer
A swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsmen, training to be pilot, Farokh Engineer established himself into the Indian cricket scene a few years after his debut in 1961. He became a household name after his exploits in the against West Indies and New Zealand in 1965. He was involved in India's memorable series wins in New Zealand in 1967 and versus England in 1971. Snapped up by Lancashire, where he met his wife Julie, Engineer was one of the first Indian cricketers to have offers from English counties - Worcestershire, Somerset, and Hampshire.
Renowned for his carefree hitting, outspoken demeanor, mutton-chop sideburns and flashy dimples, he certainly was ahead of his times - his good looks an instant draw for fans and brands, home and in England. Brylcreem saw its sales rocket after they signed him. He also featured in UK tabloids with his county exploits attracting brands for endorsements. In short, he was the MS Dhoni of the 60s and 70s.
Memorable Brand Associations: Brylcreem