first_imgSomewhere in the middle of 2015 Suresh Raina had announced to the world that his stocks had sky rocketed and he would be taking home Rs 35 crore in the next three years courtesy his new brand managers, IOS Sports and Entertainment. The deal was projected as Raina’s coming out of the shadows’ moment having moved on from previous managers Rhiti Sports.Rhiti Sports manage MS Dhoni and around that time cricketers had begun to speak in hushed tones of how Rhiti could never do justice to anyone beyond Dhoni. Raina would get another crack to move out of Dhoni’s shadows with the Chennai Super Kings suspension from IPL and the southpaw getting a leadership opportunity with new franchise Gujarat Lions in 2016. The stage was set for the underperformer to pack punches and become a mega brand on and off the pitch.Unfortunately for Raina his form deserted him when he needed it the most and some believe he also ran out of luck. The first ODI series that Raina played under his new managers against South Africa in India was a disaster where he managed just 68 runs from five matches at an average of 14. He went on to lose his place from the Indian ODI team and was slotted as a mere T20 specialist. The unprecedented 13-Test long home season did not help where Suresh Raina did not feature. Raina has a century on Test debut to show but averaging 26 in 18 Tests for a career spanning more than a decade, chances of a revival there were remote.advertisementThe IOS-Raina relationship did not last the distance and the projected Rs 35 crore fizzled away quicker than cola would.”It was a two plus one-year deal. After two years, both sides decided to move on,” Neerav Tomar, MD, IOS told India Today.When quizzed further how the Rs 35 crore promise could not be met, Neerav shared some hard facts. “Look we had foreseen what we had based on performance. Him being in and out of the Indian team, the expectations did not match on both the sides. The athlete has to go out and perform at certain levels to get those numbers. We have parted amicably and wish Suresh the best,” he said.Industry insiders evaluating the Raina-IOS deal say the cricketer got just what he deserved. “I think he came to them without any major deal in the bag. His Adidas deal had expired and the new managers got him a three-year Ceat deal. A couple of other contracts and few appearances are just fine for someone who had moderate performances during that period. His visibility wasn’t the best and that will always become an overriding factor,” said an insider on condition of anonymity.The minimum guarantee projections have been long abused in the Indian sports marketing space. In the final contract, a number of these projections are heavily ambitious and subject to numerous clauses which can rarely be met. “These may be something like a brand asking for a discount if the player misses out on two India series or being out of the team for a certain span of time. Visibility is the most important and that can be maximized in cricket only if a player plays in all forms of the game,” said another seasoned brand manager.Raina’s new managers Laqshya media group are new entrants in the sports marketing space. Getting a cricketer on board works well for them. With the IPL in progress and Suresh Raina being one of the captains it’s an opportunate time to make the announcement. “It’s a 3 year deal and we hope we can continue longer. We hope to position Suresh in the right manner and be able to create a decent market for him,” Laqshya MD, Anil Jalan told India Today.Raina ticks most boxes when it comes to T20 cricket. IPL is his domain where he only in the other game beat Virat Kohli to become the all time highest run scorer. Market experts however contend that IPL is only a two month business. How a cricketer does in India colours for the rest of the year not only defines his overall brand value but also impacts his clout in IPL.  Does that worry Raina’s new managers? “Everybody has gone through lean phases from Sachin to Yuvraj. Yuvraj was out of the team and has made a good comeback. I feel post IPL, Suresh will be able to make a comeback. He is captain of Gujarat Lions and this performance will be good enough to comeback,” Jalan hoped.advertisementThe rules in the ruthless celebrity marketing space are clear. You are identified with your last performance; film-stars and directors by their last two films and cricketers by their previous two series.Raina no longer a contracted India cricketer and having lost his ODI place, chance of him reclaiming it during the prestigious Champions Trophy to follow the IPL are slim. Both the cricketer and his brand managers may sound upbeat in a press release marking the new association but deep down, Raina knows he has turbulence to overcome.last_img

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