Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India's 'Captain Cool'
is the world's highest-paid cricketer according to Forbes
. The list also includes batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar along with other six Indians.
The US business magazine said Dhoni's success on the pitch
, including leading India to its second-ever Cricket World Cup
championship "had helped turn him into India's biggest celebrity," adding that "the fame has paid off: last year, Dhoni made an unprecedented $26.5 million."
But only a small portion of that payout, about $3.5 million, comes directly from Dhoni's on-field play, the magazine said. The remaining sum of $23 million comes from his impressive list of nearly 25 endorsements
, including PepsiCo, Reebok and Sony.
Fellow Indian Sachin Tendulkar, "arguably the greatest batsman to ever step onto a cricket pitch, was the game's highest-paid player before Dhoni's rise to fame."
"The Little Master is adored by cricket fans both young and old, and his popularity in India helped him make $18.6 million last year," Forbes said.
Like Dhoni, the vast majority of Tendulkar's earnings came courtesy of valuable sponsorship deals.
Tendulkar currently has 16 sponsors, including Adidas, Coca-Cola, Castrol and Toshiba, and they paid a total $16.5 million "for the all-time great's services."
The next three spots on the Forbes list are also held by Indians with Gautam Gambhir ($7.3 million) ranked third, Virat Kohli ($7.1 million) fourth and Virender Sehwag ($6.9 million) fifth. Yusuf Pathan ($3.7 million) takes the tenth spot.
Four Australians led by Shane Watson ($5.9 million) take the sixth to ninth spots. He is followed by Australian captain Michael Clarke ($4.9 million), Brett Lee ($4.8 million) and Ricky Ponting ($4.1 million).With inputs from IANSTHE TOP TEN
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
2. Sachin Tendulkar
3. Gautam Gambhir
4. Virat Kohli
5. Virendra Sehwag
6. Shane Watson
7. Michael Clarke
8. Brett Lee
9. Ricky Ponting
10. Yusuf Pathan