With the genesis of T20 cricket, cricket has witnessed revolutionary changes in terms of the popularity of the sport and the income earned by cricketers. The format has brought in a fast-moving, entertaining form of cricket to the world, forcing batsmen and bowlers to garner out-of-the-box solutions to counter the attacking prowess of the opponent.
Apart from the top countries who have made their presence felt in the ODI and Test formats, T20 tournaments and leagues across the world have given rise to beliefs amongst associate nations while urging them to participate and compete amongst the greats. Lucrative leagues such as the IPL, BBL, CPL, BPL and the recent PSL have played host to several big names from the cricketing world, pulling along with them huge crowds to gather an immense amount of revenue.
Cricket being the most popular sport in many countries, cricketers are no doubt the biggest benefactors from the game and its associated commercial aspects. With consistent performances on the global circuit, many players see their net worth bloom with every deal added to their kitty. While it is true that advertisements add a stop-start dimension to cricket, but at the end of the day, the few viewers are those who complain, while cricketers continue to go about their merry ways.
Not only do the net worth of players go up, the brand also presents a polished look with the presence of these stars who promote the product and the brand as a whole. Here, we try to approximate the net worth of the top 10 richest cricketers as presented by a few reliable sources as of 2016 such as richest.com and cownetworth.com.
#10 Rahul Dravid – US $22.6 million
Nicknamed ‘The Wall’, Rahul Dravid has a reputation for being one of the finest test players to have played the game. With a tremendous amount of patience and flawless method of play, Dravid often tormented bowlers, tiring them out with his sturdy resistance.
Second-highest on the list of the ‘Highest Indian run-scorers’, he holds the unique record of being the only player to have scored centuries in all Test playing nations. Following a string of consistent performances for Karnataka in the first-class format, Dravid was summoned to the national team and made his ODI debut against SriLanka. Primarily suited for the Test format, Dravid’s limited-overs career lasted a long time with over 10,000 runs in ODIs.
Hailing from Karnataka, Dravid played for RCB in the first four seasons before he moved to Rajasthan Royals in 2011. After the Champions League in 2013, Dravid assumed the mentor’s role for RR and currently serves as the mentor for Delhi Daredevils.
Post-retirement, Dravid has focused on developing young talent. Under his mentorship, the U-19 team emerged runners up in the ICC U-19 World Cup 2016. A Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awardee, Dravid joined forced with GoSports in a bid to mentor athletes in India. Apart from this, he is also a brand ambassador for the Goodwill Foundation.
#9 Yuvraj Singh – US $35.5 million
The story of Yuvraj Singh’s recovery from cancer has been inspiring to many while his cricket is often rendered flawless. The southpaw will remain in the memories of Indian fans forever, having played a monumental role with his all-round skills in the ICC World Cup 2011, assisting India to a title win and emerging as the Man of the Tournament.
A stylish left-handed batsman, Yuvraj is also a crafty slow left-arm orthodox bowler. During the ICC World T20 in 2007, Yuvraj smashed six sixes off one Stuart Broad over en route to smashing the fastest fifty ever (off 12 balls) in T20 internationals. Yuvraj was the most sought-after player in the 2014 and 2015 IPL auctions bought for 14 and 16 crores respectively.
Yuvraj made his first appearance on advertisement screens in 2006, appointed brand ambassador for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game console. He has also lent his voice in the animated movie ‘Jumbo’ and is the brand ambassador for several brands such as Puma, sports365.in, Ulysse Nardin etc. With a will to change lives, Yuvraj started a charity which was christened ‘YouWeCan’ aimed with a mission to treat cancer patients following which he decided to invest Rs.40-50 crores in order to expand the YouWeCan initiative.
#8 Virender Sehwag – US $40 million
Supremely destructive at the top of the order, Virender Sehwag is regarded as one of the best openers to have competed in the game. With his strike rate seldom falling below 100, Sehwag was almost impossible to bowl to, displaying fearlessness and bouts of confidence as and when he wielded the bat.
Brute force and boldness his biggest strength, the dashing opener holds the record for the highest score by an Indian in tests with a 319, which is also the fastest triple century in the history of cricket. A penchant of scoring boundaries at will, Sehwag presented a strong challenge to every rival bowler he faced. As a regular opener, he was often banked upon to provide strong and quick starts to the innings.
Sehwag played as captain for his home side, Delhi Daredevils in season 1 and 2 of the IPL, before giving up captaincy in season 3. In IPL 4 and 5, he yet again led the Delhi Daredevils with mixed success. After retirement in 2015, Sehwag has taken to twitter to continue the entertainment he provides and is actively involved in charity events.
#7 Shane Watson – US $40 million
Destructive with the bat and shrewd with the ball, Shane Watson is one of the best all-rounders in cricket. Possessing the ability to float around in the batting order, Watson has managed to fit into both the anchor’s and finisher’s role to perfection and has cropped up as one of the best all-rounders in limited-overs history.
Watson debuted for Australia in 2002 as a youngster who had a huge reputation from first-class cricket and when he hung up his boots in 2016, he left a huge void in Australian cricket after his fabulous consistent performances.
In IPL 2008, Watson was picked up by the Rajasthan Royals and immediately made a mark by emerging as the Man of the Series. After a string of good performances, Watson had his first Big Bash League stint with the Sydney Sixers in 2011, following which he has played for the Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder.
After an eight-year stint with Rajasthan, he was purchased by Royal Challengers Bangalore for a whopping sum of Rs. 9.5 crores, the costliest buy in the 2016 auction. He found a buyer for himself in the PSL through Islamabad United, who bought him for USD $200,000. In 2016, he debuted in the CPL for the St. Lucia Zouks.
#6 Shahid Afridi – US $41 million
One of the finest cricketers to have played the game, Shahid Afridi will be forever engraved in every cricket fan’s heart for the amount of entertainment he has showcased throughout his career. A powerful middle-order batsman with the ability to baffle batsmen while bowling, Afridi remains one of the finest all-rounders in the game.
Affectionately called ‘Lala’, he debuted at the budding age of 16 and became the youngest player to score a century when he reached the milestone against SriLanka aged 16 years and 217 days.
In 2008, Afridi represented the Deccan Chargers in the IPL, following which he made his entrance into other leagues across the world. In 2010, he signed up with the South Australian Redbacks for the BBL before moving to the Melbourne Renegades the following year. During the same year, he also joined forces with the Dhaka Gladiators in the BPL where he had a mixed bag of success. In the Pakistan Super League, he plays as the captain and icon player for the Peshawar Zalmi.
Afridi has been actively involved in social activities as well. He is part of the UNICEF for their anti-polio campaign in Pakistan. In March 2014, the ‘Shahid Afridi Foundation’ was established with an aim to provide top class education and health facilities in Pakistan.
#5 Shane Warne – US $50 million
Perhaps one of the greatest leg-spinners to have played the game, Shane Warne has often brought out his mixed bag of tricks and bamboozled batsmen throughout his career. With over 1000 international wickets to his name, Warne has left a huge legacy behind him after his retirement. In recognition of the leggie’s efforts, the series involving Australia and Sri Lanka was renamed ‘Warne-Muralitharan’trophy.
Apart from his bowling, Warne was a handy lower-order batsman and has over 3000 runs to his credit. He is also famously known for the ‘Ball of the century’, a ball that pitched outside off-stump but went on to take out the leg stump of opener Andrew Strauss. Known for his crafty bowling, Warne is also labelled as the innovator for his special ball which he later termed as the ‘Zooter’.
In 2008, Warne joined the Rajasthan Royals as icon player and captain for a sum of US $450,000. In his first season as captain, he led the Royals to title victory and then went on to representing RR until 2011, and in the same year signed up to play for the Melbourne Stars in the BBL.
Hardly a stranger to controversies, Warne’s career was plagued with several of them, involving a few hefty fines and bans. However, Warne remained undeterred and carried on weaving his magic. Post-retirement, Warne has assumed the role of a cricket commentator and is a professional poker player for Australia.
#4 Virat Kohli – US $53 million
The current heartthrob of every Indian cricket fan and India’s skipper in Tests, Virat Kohli has stamped his authority over all parts of the globe with some mesmerising performances. An elegant batsman with an array of strokes under his belt, Kohli has already emerged as a front-runner to shatter records set in the game.
Kohli shot into limelight with his captaincy in the Under-19 World Cup held in Malaysia in 2008 and as a youngster with abundant talent, was snapped by the Royal Challengers Bangalore on a youth contract for USD $30,000 in 2008.
Showcasing the right mix of aggression and pure stroke making, Kohli has carved a wonderful career for himself, accumulating runs and going about his job like a well-oiled machine. With a never-say-die attitude, raw exuberance and hunger for runs, he is regarded as one of the best limited-overs batsmen and a top-class fielder. Kohli has also emerged as one of the best chasers in the game with the ability to pace and read his game to absolute perfection.
In IPL 2016, Kohli smashed four centuries in a single season, amassing 973 runs in 16 matches with an average of over 80, and became the first player in IPL history to cross 4000 runs. He had continued his form from the ICC World T20 2016, where he had finished as the Man of the Series.
Away from cricket, Kohli is one of the most prominent cricketers. Highly sought after due to his popularity, Kohli has featured in several TV commercials. In 2013, he started the ‘Virat Kohli Foundation’ to raise funds for underprivileged children.
Kohli’s business acumen can be gauged by the fact he owns several other sporting clubs across the world. FC Goa in the ISL, UAE Royals in the IPTL are some prominent names.
In 2014, Kohli joined the 100-crore endorsement club, with his deal with the MRF bat foundation surfacing as the costliest deal in cricket history.
#3 Ricky Ponting – US $65 million
One of Australia’s finest and most successful captain, Ricky Ponting occupies the third position in the richest cricketers list. He will be forever remembered for captaining the Australian team in ‘The golden Era’ which saw Australia presenting a stiff challenge to every team that came their way.
Having held the reigns of the Australian set-up for almost 10 years, Ponting holds the record for the ‘Most international matches as captain’, heralding the side for 324 matches across all three formats. Just after assuming the captain’s role in 2002, he led Australia to a World Cup victory in 2003 and followed it with another title victory in 2007 to make it a hat-trick of wins for the Aussies having won the cup in 1999 as well.
Sublime throughout his career, Ponting is the highest run-scorer for Australia across all formats and is the second highest run-scorer in the world. He made his first entry into IPL for the Kolkata Knight Riders and played all his BBL matches for the Hobart Hurricanes. In 2013, he shifted to the Mumbai Indians and played for a year before shifting to a mentor’s role in the same team.
Actively involved in charity work, Ponting started the ‘Ponting Foundation’ in 2008, to raise funds for children diagnosed with cancer. He is also the ambassador for the Children’s cancer institute in Australia.
#2 Mahendra Singh Dhoni – US $103 million
India’s limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni occupies the number two position on the charts with a net worth of just over $100 million. Currently the highest paid cricketer in the world, Dhoni is regarded as one of the best finishers in the game. At the helm of the Indian cricket team for almost 10 years, Dhoni equalled Ricky Ponting’s record of the ‘most international matches as captain’ recently in June 2016.
In the 324 matches as skipper across all three formats, Dhoni has enjoyed incredible success. Dhoni is the only captain in the history of cricket to have led his team to victory in all three ICC limited-overs tournaments (ICC T20 World Cup 2007, ICC World Cup 2011, ICC Champions Trophy 2013). He also holds the record as the first Indian captain to win 100 ODI matches.
In the IPL, Dhoni captained the Chennai Super Kings till 2015 before shifting to the Rising Pune Supergiants. Coming lower down the order, Dhoni often takes over the finisher’s role.
A recipient of many awards in his glittering career including the prestigious Padma Shri, Dhoni holds the record for the most number of endorsement deals signed by a cricketer, which in 2015 propelled him to the 23rd position on the annual Forbes list of ‘the highest paid athletes’.
Some of his biggest deals include the co-ownership of Chennayin FC in the ISL and the Ranchi Rays, a hockey franchise in the HHIL. He also co-owns a Supersport World Championship team which was later named after him as ‘Mahi Racing Team India’. With these responsibilities and plenty of endorsement deals thrown in the bag, Dhoni is no wonder the richest active cricketer in the world.
#1 Sachin Tendulkar – US $118 million
Sachin Tendulkar needs no introduction. One of the greatest cricketers to have played the game, the records against his name will take more than a lifetime to beat. Although the legend has retired from the game, his aura remains etched forever. The only player in the history of cricket to score 100 international centuries, he holds the record for the highest number of runs in both ODI and Tests.
Tendulkar’s career statistics are mind-boggling. Making his debut as a scrawny 16-year old against a threatening Pakistan line-up, Tendulkar served his nation for about two and a half decades. At the end of his career, he had played 664 international matches and scored a gob-smacking 34,357 runs.
Throughout his illustrious career, Tendulkar has received innumerable accolades including India’s most prestigious honour, the Bharat Ratna. In the IPL, he was contracted to the Mumbai Indians for US $1.1 million, who named him their icon player and captain. After playing for six years, he called time on his IPL career and currently serves as an icon and mentor for MI.
The first ever batsman to score an ODI double century, Tendulkar ties up with ‘Apnalaya’, a Mumbai-based NGO to sponsor 200 unprivileged children every year. He is also well known for taking to Twitter and raising a total of US $150,000 to help the awareness campaign held by the cancer foundation.
Sachin’s first venture into business started with a five-year deal with WorldTel in 1995. Since then, Tendulkar has signed several other endorsement deals, involving the co-ownership of Kerala Blasters, an ISL team and earns an approximate of US $18 million a year with all deals. He has also opened two restaurants – Tendulkar’s and Sachin’s, both in Mumbai. His autobiography ‘Playing It My Way’ broke the record for the most pre-ordered copies in any category of published books in India.