KL Rahul, India cricketer and skipper of IPL franchise Lucknow Super Giants and English international cricketer Ben Stokes
India cricketer KL Rahul has invested in Ben Stokes’ athlete entrepreneurial collective 4CAST and will lead its operations in the Indian subcontinent. Founded by the England Test captain along with English pacers Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer, the UK-headquartered 4CAST provides a corporate outlet for international athletes to explore business opportunities alongside their careers and even after retirement.
Rahul was thrilled when Stokes explained the purpose behind creating 4CAST and agreed instantly when he asked him to come on board as a stakeholder. “As athletes, we do have an influence over people, and we have a voice. If we can come together, there are a lot of changes that we can make, and there’s so much that we can do to help each other,” the 31-year-old tells Forbes India in an exclusive interview.
At a time when other people are learning or improving life skills, explains Rahul, athletes are consumed by one single thing—the sport they play. “There’s not much time for us to learn the business side of things, or what we can do after sport or in case sport does not work out for some of us,” he says. Such are the vagaries of sport, he continues, that often outcomes are uncertain, and sometimes injuries push a lot of sportsmen out. “As a result, you suddenly find yourself in no man’s land where you don’t have any other skill. And by the time you realise that it’s too late,” he says.
That’s where 4CAST comes into the picture. It helps sportspersons explore opportunities around the spheres of media, gaming and investments. Since its inception in 2021, it has on-boarded public figures and athletes such as Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone, Jason Roy, Matthew Potts [cricketers], Tyrone Mings [footballer], Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson [rugby players], Josh Denzel [boxer and influencer] and Tom Evans [tennis], and Chris Hughes [influencer], among others.
“The idea of 4CAST is to have people around who are enthusiastic about sport, but also have some idea about business. We realise an athlete’s career is short… more than half of our life exists after sport, and we need something to fall back on. It is a huge responsibility for an athlete to look after his future. I am happy to be associated with 4CAST and can’t wait to grow with the company,” says Rahul, without divulging his investment details. He added that his association with 4CAST will move towards helping Indian athletes as well.
Stokes, who was recently named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World for the third time in four years, is glad to partner with Rahul and look for opportunities in South Asia together. “KL is a thought leader in the athlete community. I’m excited to have KL coming on board at 4CAST… it’s great to have someone who shows such interest in everything we are about as a company,” he said in a statement.
Fergus Bell, director at 4CAST, said: “Expanding our athlete roster in India is a crucial step. We’re thrilled to collaborate with KL Rahul, who brings not only his status as a world-class athlete, but also his entrepreneurial and investment acumen to the table.”
The world realises that India is an important market, says Rahul, who admits that he’s not a hands-on investor yet. “I am still learning on the go. I have done a few things in the last couple of years which have given me some experience. I first try to learn and understand… once I have enough knowledge, I can be more hands-on. And in areas that I feel I understand quite well, I do bring in my thoughts and views,” says Rahul, who, among other things, invested in a Surat-based apparel brand in 2022. The cricketer has also been a brand ambassador for Red Bull, BharatPe, boAt, Realme, Tata Motors and Puma.
While returns on investments are important, most of Rahul’s investments have been in areas that he is passionate about. “The whole reason for anyone to do business is to make sure they are growing, and their money is growing. I also do investments where the returns are high, but those decisions are taken under the advice of a few experts. Most investments that I make are in areas that I have an interest in or am passionate about. That’s my priority now,” explains Rahul, who is currently captaining the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).
LSG have won four of their six matches as of April 20, and are second on the points table. The team qualified for the playoffs in its debut season last year. Rahul is enjoying his stint as a leader. “I don’t think anyone is born with leadership skills. Like everything else in life, you learn on the go,” he says. “I am quite reserved and laidback, who likes to do things at my own pace. Leadership takes me out of my comfort zone. I need to be more out there, leading from the front, and showing my group the kind of team we need to be, forming bonds, relationships and friendships with them outside the field. I have learnt that from leaders I have played under. And I try to use that in my leadership. The most important thing I have learnt is to really be yourself and be comfortable in your skin. That gives others in your team the freedom and confidence to be themselves.”
The right-handed opening batsman has enjoyed a lot of success in the IPL. In the five seasons from 2018 to 2022, he amassed 600-plus runs in the T20 spectacle for four years; and had a tally of 593 runs in 2019. This year, he became the fastest to score 4,000 runs (105 innings) in the T20 tournament, eclipsing big hitters such as Chris Gayle, David Warner and Virat Kohli.