Whisky ads promote discord in Indian cricket team

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McDowell's No 1

Indian test cricketers Harbajhan Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have found themselves the centre of a legal battle – over whisky advertising.

Although alcohol advertising is banned in India, most companies get round it by using surrogate products – with the same name as their brand – and last year, Harbhajan took part in advertising for Royal Stag cricket gear, and by extension the Pernod Ricard whisky of the same name.

Dhoni however endorses McDowell’s No 1, a UB Group whisky, and appeared in a spoof ad for McDowell’s brand of soda which lampooned Harbajhan and the Royal Stag ad, reports The Guardian newspaper.

Now Harbhajan’s mother is suing UB, owned by billionaire Vijay Mallya, for insulting her son, family and Sikhs in general in their advertising and is demanding the ad be withdrawn.

“It [the ad] was not meant to attack Harbhajan Singh personally,” Mallya told the Times of India. “It was just a spoof between two brands. There are several TV programmes that spoof our politicians. What will happen if all of them start sending legal notices?”

England’s cricketing fans will be hoping it promotes disunity in the world number 1 team’s dressing room ahead of India’s Test series this month.

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