Dhoni, Tendulkar sponsor defaults on payments to global cricketers: Report

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The sponsor of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s bat logo, who also has endorsement deals with Sachin Tendulkar and a host of international cricketers from Australia, West Indies and England, is in trouble for defaulting on payments.

Business news daily, Economic Times, quoting sources, has reported that cricket gear manufacturer Spartan owes $2 million (₹13 crore approx.) to Dhoni alone. However, Dhoni still continues to endorse the brand as he supported the Spartan logo on his bat during the two limited-overs series in England. Reports suggest the former team India captain and Indian wicketkeeper in the white ball cricket format is considering a legal action against the brand.

The Australia-based sports equipment manufacturing brand Spartan is co-owned by Indian Kunal Sharma, who has reportedly defaulted on Dhoni’s payments. According to Economic Times, Dhoni’s managers have declined to confirm or deny whether the wicketkeeper-batsman will initiate a legal action against the brand or Sharma.

Tendulkar’s team and two cricket gear manufacturers from Meerut, who supplied equipment to the company, did not comment.

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If sources close to former India skipper are to be believed, Spartan’s Sharma had not paid close to about $2 million (₹ 3 crores approx.) to Dhoni. He is also reported to have defaulted on payments to Australian cricketers Mitchell Johnson and Joe Burns.

England’s limited overs captain Eoin Morgan, former Australia captain Michael Clarke, ex-England batsman Kevin Pietersen and Chris Gayle are among the top notch cricketers who were signed by Spartan to endorse the brand.

The company is also facing major debt obligations in Australia. “The company, an importer and distributor of Spartan products in Australia, owes creditors, including the tax office, ANZ Bank and a host of trade creditors and lower tier lenders, $8.5 million, according to liquidators at BRI Ferrier,” Sydney Morning Herald has reported on Thursday.

The Australian paper has also reported that Sharma under debt burden was compelled to sell off his sea-facing mansion in Wollongong. “He could not have afforded so much in sponsorship deals with so many cricketers for so high prices without managing to sell his products sufficiently. He wanted to run before he could walk,” said an official of an Australian company, who previously did business with him, but has stopped placing orders from him.

The Jalandhar-born Sharma also had business tie-ups with Pakistani businessman Kamil Khan, a relative of Waqar Yunis.

Sharma’s father used to be a bat manufacturer in Jalandhar.