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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: Jemimah toys with the big boys for Dream 11

The Indian batting star is part of a niche set of women cricketers that brands are increasingly seeking out.

IPL 2021: Jemimah toys with the big boys for Dream 11
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At just 20-years of age, the batter has nine international fifties to her credit (File photo) 

By

Rahul Kargal

Updated: 20 April 2021 7:31 AM GMT

In a recent YouTube video doing the rounds, the Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma gets asked a true or false question - you've hit more sixes in the IPL than the ODIs?

The cricketer responds with a confident no.

"Right answer," says the energetic host before revealing a fun fact.

"You've hit 213 sixes in the IPL and 244 sixes in ODIs for India," she adds, as Rohit Sharma nods in acknowledgement.

The Mumbai skipper then braces himself for the next set of questions, all with a smile, courtesy of the smooth-talking talk show host.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a run-of-the-mill Q&A where a model-anchor engages a popular cricket star in friendly poolside banter for a mid-match filler segment.

In reality, however, the host turns out to be Indian batting sensation, Jemimah Rodrigues.

Roped in by Dream 11, the batter was quizzing Rohit Sharma for a video segment titled #ThirdUmpireWithJemi, a series that is currently running on the fantasy cricket app's YouTube channel.

Dream 11, now valued at USD 5 Billion, is the leader in the burgeoning Indian fantasy sports market and an official partner of IPL since 2018.

From Dhoni and Rohit Sharma to Hardik Pandya and Shikar Dhawan, the most recognisable of India's cricket stars endorse the product and help consolidate its reach.

The brand engaging with Jemimah, therefore, marks a major shift in their consumer outreach strategy.

With 399K followers on her Instagram handle, the Mumbaikar is a social media star. With frequent travel pictures, player interactions and videos of her playing the guitar, Jemimah keeps her followers more than just entertained.

With a spontaneous approach, effervescent energy and infectious laughter, the batter has an unparalleled ability to put a smile on the viewer's face.

And it is this inimitable tenet of hers that Dream 11 appears to have sought out in a quest to engage with fans across social media channels.

Since that episode with Rohit Sharma, the brand has released videos of the batter's 'Dil Ya Dimaag' segment with Shreyas Iyer, Mayank Agarwal, Shubhman Gill and Krunal Pandya.

A level playing field?

In an industry dominated by popular male cricketers who hog both the limelight and advertising moolah, Jemimah is quietly breaking the proverbial glass ceiling.

Does this now translate to a shift in the manner that brands operate? Are women cricketers, much like their male counterparts, now being sought after?

Not quite, but recent developments are encouraging.

Batting legend Mithali Raj has endorsement deals with Rio Tinto's Australian Diamonds and Laver & Wood. Similarly, Harmanpreet Kaur works with Nike, CEAT and ITC's juice brand B Natural.

While the former charges INR 40 lakh per year as endorsement fee, the latter levies a fee of approximately INR 60 lakhs.

While these numbers pale in comparison with the INR 6 Crore and INR 2 Crore annual fee that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma charge, the beginnings are encouraging.

Smriti Mandhana, meanwhile, is perhaps the most popular amongst brands from the women's game in India at the moment.

With a staggering 4.1 Million followers on her Instagram account, the batter is quite the superstar on social media and reportedly charges up to INR 2 lakh for a single social media post.

Also, the southpaw has worked for brands such as Red Bull, Vivo, OnePlus, Greenply, DBS Bank and CricBuzz.

All of these developments only go show that momentum is well and truly gaining with women's cricket in India.

And with talks of a Women's IPL gathering steam, every time Jemimah excels with the willow and smiles seamlessly on camera thereafter, it only adds to the existing tail-winds that continue to usher in a welcome change to the world of women's cricket in India.

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