Melbourne, Jan 22: Australian all-rounder Shane Watson's good form has increased his demand in India, where his profile has skyrocketed since steering Rajasthan Royals to a title and being named player of the IPL in its inaugural season in 2008.
Watson, who is in line for the Allan Border Medal next month, could be soon giving Brett Lee a run for rupees in India as his off-field earnings could really increase his bank balance handsomely.
Watson parted company with manager David Flaskas late last year and his new agent, Tony Connolly, is already in talks with a range of companies about signing Watson.
"We are talking with some people in India, yes. He'll be spending four months over there with the World Cup and IPL so there's some interest," Connolly said yesterday.
Watson could do nicely at home too. Some are talking a few million a year but Connolly said Watson would take a "selective" approach to endorsement deals.
Watson is also reportedly set to unseat Ricky Ponting as the highest paid player in the country by signing a new Cricket Australia (CA) contract worth up to two million dollars.
He will also claim the No.1 ranking when CA announces its new 25-man contract list in April. The rankings are kept a closely guarded secret, but Ponting has been the highest-paid cricketer in the country for many years.
According to the Daily Telegraph, there was a brief period when former fast bowler Glenn McGrath usurped former captain Steve Waugh as Australia's most expensive cricketer, but captains have traditionally had a stranglehold.
Last year, Watson averaged 42.7 with the bat in Test cricket compared to the 36 of Ponting.
However, it is the 29-year-old's arrival as a genuine star with the ball (19 Test wickets at an average of 27 last year) that will be the key element that propels him to becoming the highest-paid cricketer.