India Bowled Over by the Gatorade Pacers program

India Bowled Over by the Gatorade Pacers program

Indian historian Ramachandra Guha compares  the sport of cricket in India to soccer (football) in Brazil.  India’s  love affair is evident to even the casual American visitor; tt’s a game that’s enjoyed equally well on the streets of any city corner, as it is on the greens of cricket clubs that dot the city. I tell my American clients to imagine professional and college baseball/football/basketbal/hockey combined  in comparing the role of cricket in India to their own experience.

Youth playing cricket on Indian streets

Much has been written  on the political, social and even the economic bearing the game has on the country. So I can understand the excitement PepsiCo’s Gatorade Pacers’ announcement has generated. Gatorade Pacers is a program that helps identify and prepare five  “fast bowlers”  for the Indian Cricket team. (bowlers are the rough equivalent of baseball pitchers for my American readers, bowlers whose hallmark is speed of throw are called pacers, as distinct from “spinners” that can bowl curve balls or even “googlies”).  Those selected  travel to Dubai to train at the ICC Cricket Academy in a bid to outshine all others in the Gatorade Sweat Test.

The Gatorade Sweat Test claims  scientific backing; the program works with athletes to understand and develop a better hydration system, which in turn generates higher performance levels. Fans of the Gatorade Sweat Test include Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Brett Lee and Usain Bolt.

The five men selected – Barinder Singh, Abdul Baseer Mohammed, Gurudas Shenoy, Sukhvir Singh and Maninder Singh will spend 7 days in training under resident coaches Mudassar Nazar and Dayle Hadlee before practicing with teams from the Netherlands, Kenya, Ireland and Canada. The Gatorade Pacers program has been a smart move on the part of PepsiCo. Launched in 2007 and exclusive to India, the program has touched the nation where it matters most – on an emotional front. It has also provided over 20,000 aspirants the chance to become part of a very exclusive and much loved club.

PepsiCo entered the India in 1989 and has grown quite successful , with international brands including  Pepsi, Lay’s, Tropicana, Gatorade and Quaker, as well as  India-only  brands lsuch as  Nimbooz (a lemon drink)  and Kurkure (spicy fried and roasted snacks) .  Incidentally,  Pepsi India’s first CEO was my friend Micky Pant, who is mentioned in my book “Doing Business in 21st Century India” for his observations relating to Hindustan Lever.


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