Credibility gone with the act that was unbecoming of a sportsperson. Steve Smith has lost his captaincy. David Warner dethroned as vice-captain.
Next in the line are international career, lucrative sponsorship deals and the cash-rich Indian Premier League contracts worth thousands of crore rupees. Captaincies of the Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad are in the line of fire for Smith and Warner respectively. The franchisees are waiting to hear from Cricket Australia and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Rajasthan Royals’ executive chairman Ranjit Barthakur, mincing no words, has stated that the IPL has zero tolerance policy for the unfair acts that may bring the game to disrepute. “We have been made aware of the controversy of ball tampering in the ongoing Australia-South Africa series and await further instructions from BCCI, before we make any announcement. We at Rajasthan Royals will not tolerate any actions that are unfair by definition and bring disrepute to the game of cricket. Our Zero tolerance policy applies to everyone in our team,” Barthakur has stated in a statement.
The duo may lose out on the IPL contracts, which have offered the biggest chunk of career earnings to the Aussie cricketers. According to the insidesport.co’s Indian Premier League salary calculation tool MONEYBALL, to be launched shortly, Warner’s career IPL contracts have reached ₹45,71,55,320, whereas Smith with the `completion of the IPL 2018 season would end up making ₹32,99,08,320 from playing in the cash-rich professional cricket league. Warner (₹ 12,50,00,000) and Smith (₹12,00,00,000) have earned their career IPL contracts this season.
The two seasoned campaigners, reports emerging from Australia suggest, also face a backlash from their respective sponsors.
Smith’s major personal sponsorship deal with Weet-Bix appears in doubt as the brand owners Sanitarium has stated that the relationship is “under review”. Sanitarium, which also has a Weet-Bix brand association with Cricket Australia, has also reportedly told the Australian national cricket board that it wants its brand ambassadors to “align with the right values”.
Cricket Australia’s most marketable players, Smith has been a Weet-Bix face for the brand TVCs. He has also the global brand ambassador for American footwear brand New Balance. Smith has also been Korean electronics giant Samsung’s face for campaigns in Australia.
Warner’s commercial website DW 31 has listed Asics, LG, Gray Nicholls, Channel Nine, Toyota, Nestle’s Milo and the Make-a-Wish Foundation as cricket star’s brand partners.
Market experts have opined that Smith and Warner the negative publicity following the “tampering gate” may force the sponsorship brands’ to dump their ambassadors.
Players brand endorsement contracts, in general, contain “negative publicity” clause, which will further empower the brands to terminate their contracts in the wake of the present controversy.
Cricket Australia, the Kangaroos and the senior Team Management are already marred by negative controversy. Australian-owned sportswear company Skins on Monday morning has taken out a full-page advertisement in The Sydney Morning Herald strongly condemning the team and turning the heat on the Australian national cricket board.