first_imgIt has been 10 years already since Lalit Modi’s brain-child, the Indian Premier League , took the world of cricket by storm and has since left the Indian audience fighting internal struggles: which is more important,  country or city?  Success at the inaugural World T20 brought along with Indian’s fairy-tale love story, the concept of cheerleaders.  WATCH VIDEO What the well-meaning layman in this country of 1.2 billion people understood by that is completely different, ‘scantily clad white women dancing to pulsating music’.Numerous debates and verbal battles aside on the morality of it all and its linearity with Indian values, things have changed, a lot.  The Indian Premier League has moved on from treating these cheerleaders as just  props and showpieces to place at the boundary ropes to do what actually they are supposed to, cheer the action on the field, every four, six or wicket.The cheerleaders themselves have evolved, with first Indian women being included, then finally the advent of the less fairer sex, men. Although it coincided with Lalit Modi’s exit after the third season and the emergence of the Pune Warriors India (PWI) from 2011. They introduced cheerleaders, who exuded elegance in sarees.From season 2 itself teams like Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings started their own cheerleader hunts.The Shah Rukh Khan -owned Kolkata franchise, decided to go the route of a reality show with then captain Sourav Ganguly handpicking the squad. Chennai Super Kings also started their own search for cheerleaders with a reality show of their own.advertisementMoral policing and misconstrued opinions have plagued the cheerleaders from the very start.  Former Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray said cheerleaders were introduced to “seduce” the crowd. Shatrughan Sinha, actor turned politician, felt it was a mockery of cricket.Then comes the mother of all IPL cheerleader controversies. Gabriella Pasqualotto. She blogged about “flirtatious” and “inappropriate” behaviour from cricketers and even named some of them.The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) then barred the cheerleaders from interacting with the cricketers during the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League.But, that did not deter an IPL cheerleader from revealing her league experience on the social networking website Reddit .  The IPL cheerleader, who chose to be anonymous and went by the moniker ‘IPLCheer’, participated in Reddit’s AMA (ask me anything) live chat to disclose the experience and hazards of her jobs.The league and the ones dancing and cheering the ever-thinning crowds at IPL venues have seemed to have moved on. The sleeves are still longer, the chest is no longer the most exposed and the shorts have lost their reason to named thus anymore.  The cheerleaders’ costumes are seen as a canvas for advertisement and overall brand exposure.  The best example of such costumes would be the Royal Bangalore Challengers’ cheerleaders, who have among them, a man dressed as Captain Morgan, serving as an advertisement for the liquor brand.However one questions the presence of cheerleaders on the cricket field, but the passion they have shown over the years stands out in the age of players changing teams every season.  There have been times when bad performances from a team brought their cheerleaders to tears and visibly upset.  A case-in-point is Kolkata Knight Rider’s match against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator at the Feroze Shah Kotla last year.Having said all that, just think about the IPL without cheerleaders. It takes away a bit of the charm, glamour and fun you associate with the tournament, right?last_img

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