Beverage maker Coca-Cola is holding talks with Sachin Tendulkar for an endorsement deal in the wake of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup.
If it comes through, the deal will see Tendulkar batting against his captain MS Dhoni off the field in the cola war between the two beverage giants.
Coke is said to be very keen to have Tendulkar on board to combat PepsiCo, which is planning a high-pitched campaign featuring Dhoni during the world cup that it is sponsoring globally.
Both Coca-Cola and sports management firm World Sport Group (WSG), which represents Tendulkar, declined to comment on the matter.
''We are always in discussions with any number of leading celebrities with regard to their support of our brands and initiatives,'' a Coca-Cola India spokesman said. He added that they announce formal agreements only after they are signed.
Industry insiders say that it could be a short term deal. Coca-Cola, otherwise, has an association with Indian opening batsmen Gautam Gambhir for endorsements.
Coca-Cola obviously doesn't want to be eclipsed by PepsiCo during the world cup, which attracts lots of viewers, especially in the subcontinent. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is to be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in February.
Tendulkar, for whom this will probably be his last world cup appearance, still has a huge fan following, which Coke is looking to tap into.
Tendulkar endorses close to 14 brands charging around $1 million per year per deal.Some of the brands he endorses include ITC's Sunfeast, Adidas, Aviva Life Insurance, Royal Bank of Scotland, appliances major Toshiba among others.