IPL April 10, 2010

Presenting the new cheerleaders of the IPL

The Rajasthan government may have banned the dancing girls but Andrew Hughes has a plan

How would Ravi Shastri describe this move? © Associated Press
Recently, I’ve been looking more closely at cheerleading (no sniggering at the back, please). I don’t know about you, but I find it slightly uncomfortable watching these girls do their stuff. Even when I am alone in the house, I can feel the disproving gaze of generations of elderly aunts. IPL commentators have a similar problem. Given that stating the obvious is pretty much their job description and that they are under continual pressure to say something, anything, the restraint they exercise when their monitors are filled with nothing but gyrating young women in short skirts is noble.

Stop right there, I can hear the weary reader ask. We’ve done cheerleaders already! It’s old news. What possible excuse could you have, two and a half years after the first agitation of a pom pom at a cricket game, to witter on about it again? Well, I’m glad you asked me that. It just so happens that earlier this week, the state government of Rajasthan banned cheerleaders at all Jaipur’s IPL games. Thus cheerleading is topical and I have something to write about. Big thanks to Prabha Rau and friends.

So. Cheerleading. Just like a proper journalist, my first and indeed last stop on the research railway was Wikipedia. Therein, I learned that cheerleading began in America in the 1890s when some jumped-up little herbert decided that it wasn’t enough for a crowd to amuse themselves; they needed organising and their willy-nilly cheering channelling in a constructive fashion. There were lots of other paragraphs after that, though I forget the details. I’m not a proper journalist, after all.

But why has this alien tradition been transplanted to the great game of cricket, leading to the discomfiture of the sofa bound viewer and the discombobulation of the fine politicians of Rajasthan state? There are three possible explanations:

1. Let’s get vulgar for a moment. IPL cheerleaders are (by and large) attractive young women. They are therefore employed for the sole purpose of diverting half of the crowd. But diverting them from what? Presumably from the cricket. But isn’t that the very thing that they have paid good money and queued for three hours to see? That doesn’t make much sense. I mean, when you go to the ballet, do they present you with a selection of cricket magazines to distract you from the dancing?

2. They are necessary to organise the crowd’s jubilation. Hmm. Thing is, from what I have seen, Indian crowds are quite able to put together a cheer (not to mention a roar, a scream and a little dance) at very short notice and entirely without direction. Whose cheers are they leading, these cheerful women from various parts of the United States? The crowd know what is happening and have already been shouting about it long before the leaders of the cheer clamber onto their podium.

3. The most plausible of the three. Some poor chap in a suit found that his mind had gone blank right in the middle of an IPL blue sky thinking session. The room fell silent and the miscreant felt a little bead of perspiration on his forehead as Commissioner Modi prepared to press the ‘minion trapdoor’ button. Then suddenly, he remembered seeing girls in short skirts during the World Twenty20 in South Africa. “Cheerleaders!” he shouted. Modi didn’t immediately send the man plummeting into the tank of sharks below and so the idea slipped quietly into the minutes.

It looks then, as though cheerleaders are here to stay. Apart from in Jaipur, obviously. It is worth noting however, that while the government of Rajasthan have banned female cheerleaders, they have not banned cheerleading. If his Modiness is in a particularly cunning mood (and my bet is that at any given moment, he is feeling more cunning than a fox with a particularly devious chicken apprehending scheme) he could draft in some Rajasthan-friendly replacements.

But which of Modi’s cronies could be relied upon to do the job? You need someone who isn’t embarrassed about making a spectacle of themselves in public, who can dance to any tune and yet isn’t likely to excite the libidos of innocent viewers. I know what you’re thinking. The answer is staring us in the face. Yes, step forward Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and Daniel Morrison. Give it up for the Mischief Boys! They’re scary, they’re unwary and their legs are rather hairy!

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on May 5, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    You need someone who isn’t embarrassed about making a spectacle of themselves in public, who can dance to any tune and yet isn’t likely to excite the libidos of innocent viewers.

    Perfect description for Gavaskar and Shastri. Who else does it describe? Andrew, how could you overlook Harsha 'His Master's Voice' Bhogle?

  • testli5504537 on May 3, 2010, 3:14 GMT

    Can have some dance or performs in between innings break like ICL had or NBA have. Not when wickets fall or Four or Six Please ... People pay to watch cricket and not cheer leaders. More over their performs is in bits and pieces and same thing again and again.

  • testli5504537 on April 20, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    i am a cricket fan and really like 20 20 as its a lot of fun. The Cheerladers really add to the event. I think they are attrative and do some great dancing. We had cheerleadera at Lords last season for the IPL game and they were great. All 20/20 games should have them

  • testli5504537 on April 16, 2010, 21:06 GMT

    Those who love the game, never bother about cheerleaders or dance girls! It is stupid to write about them. In europe it is a profession and I know those who are studying are also going for cheerleaders class. All are ready to watch bollywood movies with bikni dance and beach scenes which are much worst! Come out of your narrow mind. Remember cricket is an international game and IPL though a domestic tournament largely played by international cricketers across the world. Just dress alone is not a culture. Honesty, sincerity, respect are also best part of the culture.

  • testli5504537 on April 16, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    good to see IPL in india please play more for entertainment and less for businesss

  • testli5504537 on April 14, 2010, 23:59 GMT

    One good thing that has happened here is that Andrew got tons of comments or compliments for this article. Few of you have advised to turn off the Televisions , i would go with that, just turn the TV off if you don't like it. Cheerleading is a profession like any other job and let them do there job. The filthy minds will always be filthy. If this queation was asked lat year i would have supported not have cheerleaders as Last two years with Cheerleaders was worst as the TV camera was going more towards dancing rather than showing Replays, i want to see replays not someone shaking Booty's. This year this is much better we see more cricket rather than Cheerleaders. they are are here to stay and let them make money. Good thing is We are Feeding Americans now.... Which is a great acheivement. Whetehr like it or not Lets us enjjoy the game.... and watch the booty Shaking...

  • testli5504537 on April 14, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    Hey, getting raid of the cheerleaders are putting those ladies out of a job. Let the ladies do their stuff. These is nothing wrong with that. Who ever think it is vulgar, their minds are vulgar and filthy and not the cheerleaders. If you do not want to see the cheerleaders, take off your tele when it is being shown on or close your eyes and get a life.

  • testli5504537 on April 14, 2010, 14:08 GMT

    come on india i thought you were a good sporting nation the cheerleaders dont do any harm to the game of cricket, i would suggest that the girls come in their G- STRINGS maybe that would stir up some of those old farts who have nothing else to do but criticise everything. stay home and play marbles.

  • testli5504537 on April 14, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    Lousiness sucks....... I enjoy every bit of IPL minus Modi. Numerous other issues worth paying attention in India. Wake up guys............

  • testli5504537 on April 14, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    I noticed during last nights game that the locals seated near the Cheerleading stage were paying absolutely no attention to the cheerleaders and seemed to have their own approach to cheering going on. It seems the girls are there purely for the TV viewers. The locals ignore them.

    Has anyone noticed that the TV close ups reveal the "dancers" in question are not that attractive anyway? That's not really the issue but curious. I see send em back to the land of the cheerleader.

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