One of the most sought after cricketers in the Indian T20 league was relaxing in the lounge chair by the team hotel’s poolside. Amid blaring music, the skimpily clad cheerleaders cannot keep their hands off him.
This was a scene at an after party following Royal Challenge-rs Bangalore’s
loss in a decisive clash to Kolkata Knight Riders in Ranchi on May 12. The loss that had almost shut the door on Bangalore’s playoff chanc-es did not deter their players from indulging in a bit of fun.
“The cheerleaders were there in LBDs trying to draw the attention of players, especially the more famous ones,” a source, who attended the party, told HT. “The-re was hookah for the players and booze was on the house. The players were enjoying the feeling of not being in their senses.”
Girls and wannabe celebrities attempting to strike a chord with the highly paid cricketers are a common feature of these parties. “No, the top celebs are not regulars. But all starlets wanting to make a name are there,” said a Rajasthan Royals player.
Official parties were shown the door along with Lalit Modi. But behind the scenes, unofficial parties have continued to be an integral part of the league.
If a franchise cannot hold a party in the hotel, there are sponsored events that hand players a similar platform. “At one sponsor event, two of our senior players were interested in hooking up with girls present at the event. They even tried hard to get close to one of the hosts for the broadcaster,” said a Pune Warriors official. “Once we lost a few games, the parties were strictly prohibited. But then players would host them in their rooms. The amount of booze that would be ordered by players was outrageous.”
A Pune Warriors player informed that a local escort stayed in the same room with one of their overseas stars right through the tournament.
Even after the spot-fixing scandal broke, the party schedule remained on track. “We still party but all the players are a lot more cautious while interacting with people at parties now. You never know who is a honey trap and who is a bookie,” another Royals player said.